Bahrain tops Arab world in media use
Manama, May 5, 2013
More Bahrainis read newspapers, books and magazines and listened to the radio compared to the rest of the Arab world, despite a major spike in Internet surfing across the region, a report said.
However, the Internet has become the main source of news in the country, with people dedicating around four hours daily to surfing the net, the Gulf Daily News quoted the Arab Media Use Survey.
The survey was conducted by the Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) and covered around 10,000 respondents in Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and the UAE.
It revealed that Tunisian and Bahraini Internet users were more active than others, spending about 4.1 hours daily on the net.
The survey assessed the extent to which people watch television, listen to the radio, read newspapers, magazines and books, and use the Internet, as well as how much they trusted these sources of news and information.
"Ninety-four per cent of social media users in the survey use Facebook, 47 per cent use Twitter and 40 per cent use Google Plus," it said.
The survey said television trumps the Internet as the most important source of news - except in Qatar and Bahrain.
A total of 78 per cent of people in Bahrain use wireless handheld devices, while 85 per cent rated Internet as an important source of information followed by 84 per cent for television and 73 per cent for newspapers.
About 52 per cent Bahraini respondents strongly agreed with a credible news media outlet in the country, while 18 per cent disagreed and 30 per cent were neutral.
The survey also showed the quality of news reporting in the Arab world has improved over the last two years.
In Bahrain, 56 per cent agreed with the increase in quality of reporting, 15 per cent disagreed and 28 per cent were neutral.
A total of 9,693 respondents completed the survey, which included face-to-face and telephone interviews of people aged 18 and above.
The NU-Q collaborated with Harris Interactive on the project, which is one of the world's most respected public opinion firms.
It was conducted between December 26 and February 5 in seven of the eight participating countries, and between March 26 and April 18 in Qatar.
The findings also showed that 61 per cent of people in the Arab world agreed with the right to express opinions online, while 12 per cent disagreed and 27 per cent were neutral.
However, 50 per cent of them agreed the Internet, in their respective countries, should be tightly regulated while only 16 per cent disagreed and 34 per cent were neutral.
"Although Arab web users support the freedom to express opinions online, they also believe the Internet should be more tightly regulated," said the survey. – TradeArabia News Service