By Andy Sambidge
Qatar-based TV giant also found to be the most watched in survey of UAE, Saudi respondents
Al Jazeera TV's Arabic news channel is the most watched and trusted source in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, according to a new survey.
Grayling Momentum, an independent PR consultancy, said that overall, 52 percent of respondents said Al Jazeera was their most popular news channel and 44 percent agreed it was the most trusted.
The survey was conducted this week by YouGov Siraj among 1,509 respondents in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
In Saudi Arabia, respondents ranked their local news channels fifth in terms of popularity with a 25 percent score, compared to 66 percent for Al Arabiya and 62 percent for Al Jazeera.
Interestingly, local TV news scored only 10 percent in terms of a trust, compared to 50 and 49 percent for the most watched channels.
TV audiences in the UAE tended to be more fragmented but Al Jazeera still came out on top in terms of popularity at 42 percent, with 38 percent saying it was the most trusted.
However, BBC World News (English) was ranked second with a significant 35 percent saying it was both the most watched and the most trusted channel, followed by CNN at 32 percent and 30 percent respectively.
Sky News - soon to open an Arabic service from Abu Dhabi - was ranked in tenth place with only seven percent.
Guy Taylor, managing director of Grayling Momentum in the Middle East said: "At a time when appetites for news have clearly increased across the region, TV remains the most popular source.
"Whilst social media has hit the headlines for putting forward new ideas and opinions, understanding how issues are being reported is crucially important to our clients and our industry."
The findings reflected the increased positive sentiment towards Al Jazeera TV across parts of the Western World - acknowledged by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who lauded the channel for its quality coverage of the events in the Arab world.