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Middle East/North Africa Relies on Many News Sources

Middle East/North Africa Relies on Many News Sources

National and international TV most important in region

by Adam Sitte

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup Polls conducted between 2005 and 2008 across the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region reveal that citizens rely on many types of media to receive information about other countries.


When asked which types of media are "very important" in keeping them well-informed about events in other countries, respondents in the MENA region are most likely to cite international television, followed by national television. Newspapers are a distant third, and even fewer respondents mention the Internet, word of mouth, and international and national radio.

Egypt, Palestinian Territories, and Saudi Arabia

In Egypt, the Palestinian Territories, and Saudi Arabia, more respondents consider international television the the most important medium for keeping them informed about world events more than any other source. However, there are differences among these countries concerning other media.


In Egypt, 62% of respondents say international television is the most important medium they use to keep well-informed about events in other countries, and 55% consider national television to be very important in keeping them informed. In the Palestinian Territories, respondents identify a clear preference for international television (78%), with national radio, international radio, newspapers, and national television considered very important by roughly 45% of those surveyed. Many Saudis also consider international television a very important source (82%), followed by newspapers (64%). Roughly 40% consider international radio, national television, and word of mouth to be very important.

Turkey and Iran

Reliance on national television is significantly more pronounced than all other media in Turkey and Iran, where 79% of Turks and 75% of Iranians view it as a very important source of news about other countries.


Considerably fewer respondents, 38% of Turks and 47% of Iranians, identified newspapers as very important sources of world news. Forty-two percent of Iranians consider national radio very important, while only 12% of Turks do. Unlike the predominantly Arab states surveyed, only 17% of Iranians and 15% of Turks find international television to be a very important source of information about other countries.

Bottom Line

While Turks and Iranians view their own national television as very important above all other media for news about other countries, this trend does not continue in other countries in the MENA region. In Egypt, and especially in the Palestinian Territories and Saudi Arabia, many residents view multiple media as very important. Most notably, citizens in these nations rely on international television to a degree that is absent in Iran and Turkey.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with at least 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, administered in Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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