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Reading NU-Q's Arab Media Use Study: Perceptions of reliability

Back in April 2013, Northwestern University in Qatar published some compelling research into media use in the Middle East. Although we reference the research often and discuss it within our team, it has come to our attention that we've thus far failed to point to the report on our blog. This post aims to rectify all that.

While many are the studies that will show that lots of people watch television in the Middle East (actually this one does too), there are few that shine a light on how people perceive media, in particular with regard to reliability and importance. Northwestern University in Qatar's Arab Media Use study, published earlier this year, is thus a welcome addition to the canon of resources concerned with media in the Middle East.

Of the many interesting findings here, the one that stands out the most comes when respondents were asked whether they agree with the statement "News media in your country are credible":

The lack of faith in news media in Egypt, Tunisia and Lebanon is remarkable, and the reasons behind this deserves much research. With regard to Tunisia and Egypt, is the lack of reliance a consequence of the uprisings, symptomatic of a contributing cause, or both? Does the notoriously political nature of Lebanon's media contribute to a lack of credibility? These questions merit much consideration, not least by media producers themselves, who clearly face something of a crisis of reliability. In looking at the reasons behind these alarming statistics, publishers must also look for solutions. It has been our aim since the start of our work on Checkdesk to help publishers be more transparent and collaborative in their handling of digital media reports, factors which other research suggests helps increase reliability.

The other side of the reliability coin is seen in Jordan, KSA and UAE, where a majority of respondents clearly find their countries' media reliable. Again, it would be interesting to find more explicit reasons behind these perhaps unexpected results.

We encourage you to look at the full findings of the report via the interactive website developed by NU-Q - check it out here: http://menamediasurvey.northwestern.edu/