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Middle East media surveys find mix of freedom, controls and contradictions

13/08/2013 14:44

(CNN) -- The Arab world's relationship with media is -- like the region itself -- complicated and often contradictory and one that has been changing rapidly since the Arab Spring.
While social media as emerged as a powerful new means of communication and news, two new surveys on media in the region have revealed its rise has not necessarily led to the demise of older, more established media.
Last month, ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller published their fifth annual Arab Youth Survey. The survey was the result of 3,000 face-to-face interviews with men and women aged 18-24 across 15 different countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
While 72% of those polled listed TV as their main source of news, only 40% listed it as a trusted source of information -- down from 60% in 2011.
I found many of my students had trust in anything: Many would see a tweet and just assume it must be true.
"There's a big family market in the Middle East. You sit in a living room with your parents or peers and watch TV. During Ramadan, it's the biggest activity. But that doesn't mean you trust it," notes Sunil John, the CEO of ASDA'A Burson-Marsteller.
According to John, TV is continuing to lose credibility, particularly as the region's two biggest broadcasters -- Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya -- have each taken notably strong stances on Egypt's political climate; Al-Jazeera allegedly pro the ousted Muslim Brotherhood-president Mohamed Morsy and Al-Arabiya in the anti camp.

"Most Arabic TV has been questioned in terms of its editorial stance. That two of the region's most prominent stations are taking a pro- and anti- stance in countries such as Egypt is one of the most discussed issues on the 'Arab street,'" he says.
Matt Duffy, a former journalism professor at the UAE's Zayed University, said he wasn't surprised by the findings.
"I think more youths are noticing that information is different depending on what media outlet you're turned into," he says. "Also, the students were far more connected to social media. They were checking their BlackBerry devices far more than turning on the TV."
Social media has changed the landscape considerably. In 2011, nobody polled listed social media as a trusted source of news and only 11% rated online media. This year, 26% said they trust websites, and 22% social media.
In Saudi, there's almost a sense of gratitude for having web access at all.
For Duffy the increased trust in these outlets isn't necessarily a good thing.
"I found many of my students had trust in anything: Twitter, blogs, newspapers, Tumblr, TV. Many would see a tweet and just assume it must be true."

Zdroj: https://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/04/world/meast/arab-media-trust-survey/index.html?hpt=wo_t5