By Shane McGinley
78 percent of those surveyed said television was their main source for daily news.
The fact that television is the most trusted source of daily news for the majority of Arab youths is a cause for “concern”, a former US Under Secretary of State told Arabian Business in Dubai on Sunday.
The Second Annual ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey found that 78 percent of those surveyed said television was their main source for daily news. Of the respondents, 54 percent said that television was also their most trusted medium for news.
“I am not surprised,” Karen Hughes, global vice chair of Burson-Marsteller and former US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the launch of the survey in Dubai.
“It is the case across the world that television is increasingly thee choice for people across the world, and here in the Arab world, for news,” she added.
The survey, which was carried out in October last year and involved face-to-face interviews with 2,000 Arab youths in nine countries, also found that 54 percent of those surveyed said television was their most trusted source for news.
“I am concerned about that,” Hughes said, “I frankly believe one of the biggest changes… in the world is that mass audiences have access to television in ways they never did before and what they are seeing they think is a very comprehensive nuance picture of the world yet often what they are seeing is a very distorted picture,” she said.
The frequency with which Arab youth kept up-to-date with news varied between countries, from 86 percent in Jordan to 75 percent in the UAE to 34 percent in Saudi Arabia. The level of trust in various news mediums also varied across the nine countries surveyed.
In Bahrain, only 35 percent of respondents said television was their most trusted news medium. However, 46 percent of Bahraini youth said they trusted newspapers, the highest in the survey, compared to 25 percent on average and 15 percent in the UAE.
Saudi youth had the most faith in websites, with 27 percent saying the online medium was their most trusted source of news, compared to one percent in Oman and 15 percent in the UAE. Only 11 percent of Saudi youth rated newspapers, the lowest across the nine countries.
Television proved to be a popular pastime in general; with 66 percent of those surveyed saying it was their favourite leisure activity.
Is this AB's promote ASDAâ€™A Burson-Marsteller week?!
Karen Hughes is a FORMER US under Secretary Of State (now a private citizen). Why is this highlighted in the opening paragraph? Also, if she is the vice chair of Burson-Marsteller, should she not comment on survey results? The company that conducts surveys is supposed to be impartial to the results! This in unethical.
This must be a slow (painfully slow, in the case of AB readers) news week in Dubai... First, yesterday's "article" (read "press release") regarding imagined contributions from the PR sector to "political and corporate transparency" (itself a double-barreled oxymoron). And today, another alleged article in which officials from the PR industry - an industry dedicated to managing the public's expectations and perceptions - have volunteered to comment on and pass judgement on the trustworthiness of various news outlets. Shamelessly, I might add, as the PR industry's code of conduct requires. A tip for the two different AB reporters who generated these... I'm sorry, but I just can't type the word "articles" again... Let's call them stories or, better yet, flights of fancy... Back to the tip for the two AB reporters... Because a person (that's right, I didn't write "news source") is self-important, doesn't make them important. How fitting that "Alice in Wonderland" was released to movie theatres this week.
Considering that Mainstream Media in the west has become nothing short of a propogangda machine for its owners and their political alli's, I find it interesting that the US undersecretary has voiced his opinion. Main Stream Media in the USA is just a trumpet for the govt. Their one sided reporting is so 'in your face' its taken for granted by the viewer who over time believes it to be true. No one questions the media anymore. The US media try to discredit an opposing view from what they are told to report. Its very difficult to find any mainstream news outlet that will report or even promote debate on issues that can be thorny for the govt. There are so many issues that could be discussed and aired but are not. Real news is swept under the carpet. Sad to say but these days, people tend to have little interest in anythihng happening around them until it actually impacts on them...sometimes when that happens its too late to oppose. Gaining daily knowledge and keeping informed from all sources of media should be a personal responsibility otherwise we have no reason to complain if things don't happen to our liking... There are plenty of media sites that trawl the worlds news and events and display them in easy formats for site readers. I read from 2-3 such sites. The information is always better than mainstream entertainment media and often the news reports talk about real 'thorny' issues that would make some govts and institutions cringe. What I would say is that when these articles raise thorny issues or attack certain govts and political leaders...their stories are backed by documented evidence. Often evidence in the public domain issued by the govt on their own websites but never promoted to the public. Anyways...each to their own...but Mainstream media is not all that it seems.