By Iqbal Tamimi
Dubai Press Club, the organizer of Arab Media Forum, announced the results of a survey it has conducted during its eleventh Forum. The study which involved the opinions of a random sample of 700 people is part of its efforts to complement the findings of the fourth edition of the "Arab Media Outlook," report which monitors the annual changes, developments and media consumption patterns in 17 Arab countries.
The poll found 53% of the surveyed believe that Arab media does not care enough about highlighting ‘civil and humanitarian issues, education, family concerns, health and Medicine’.
It is interesting that only 6% of those surveyed in Dubai, highlighted the need for more media transparency and the need to shed more light on "transparency in politics" and "sport". Even though the last few years witnessed an increasing debate over media and Internet censorship in the Middle East in general and in UAE in particular and rifts between the censors and local and regional advocates of freedom of speech have intensified, expressing their concerns about media regulations, such as the Head of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom who criticized Dubai Police for allegedly asking Google to censor YouTube as reported by The Economist.
The poll results found a growing interest in social media as a source of News; where 60% of the participants said that they have accessed more than 30% of the news from social media sources. Interestingly enough, 15% showed a tendency of loyalty to some news sources, since they revealed that they get 30 - 69% of their news from the same source of news.
54% of the surveyed said they have been following the latest political news updates in the region through on line sources, while 43% followed such news on television. Interest in Print media seems to shrink since it did not account but for only a tiny share that did not exceed 3%.
Regarding this huge decline of interest in print media, 25% of respondents said they believe the press sector will die away, while 75% said that print media will still be in demand. Regarding the content, 55% said that the quality of the Arab press has improved over the past two years, while 24% said the press still needs urgent changes. The poll also revealed that 21% of the participants in the survey believe the quality of Arab media has deteriorated.