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Bridging the gap: Youth and Broadcasters in Arab Countries

A Focus Group Survey in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine

While youth lack trust in broadcasters, they are nonetheless willing to cooperate with them if issues concerning young people were to take up more space in traditional media, the survey “Bridging the gap”, a cornerstone for the Shabab Live project, found.

While many recent studies show that youth are turning away from broadcasters and prefer web or social media, few look in detail at the reasons behind this disconnection or provide recommendations for the way forward. This survey tries to fill that gap, to allow for informed choices, and to indicate the most important issues to be addressed by Shabab Live in the future.

334 young people aged between 15 and 30 years from six countries were interviewed for the study. They not only expressed their concerns and criticism, but also suggested topics of interest to young people and what an ideal program would look like in their opinion. Although youth overwhelmingly agree that their preferred platform is social media, the study showed that they continue to follow broadcasters’ content via TV and radio, or through these broadcasters’ online presence. But they do criticize the content of traditional media and many feel that they lack credibility and content that is important to young people. “They play a role in making youth stupid (…) they focus on music and sports”, a participant in a focus group in Morocco stated. Others said they did not feel that they have a place on TV or radio. “They know we will criticize them or say opinions they don’t agree with, so they don’t ask”, a participant in Tunisia said.

The survey was conducted for Shabab Live by Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD), with the financial assistance of the European Union and the support of the Federal Foreign Office. The key findings will be published End of February 2019. The full version of the study will be available for download in English and Arabic at the beginning of March 2019

Methodology

Méthodologie

The AWRAD team organized and implemented 24 focus groups of young broadcasters’ users in the period between November and December 2018. Two primary research tools were used during the focus groups:

  • A brief questionnaire (quantitative)
  • Guidelines for the Focus group discussion

The focus groups were conducted in six countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine, with participants selected based on the following criteria:

  • Age group: 15-30 years old
  • Gender: 50:50 male/female
  • Residency area: urban, rural, refugee camps (Palestinian and Syrian refugees in Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon)
  • Occupation: employed, unemployed, student
  • Representation of regions that capture the ethnic/religious/sectarian variation in a country (e.g., religion/sectarian in Lebanon; ethnic in Morocco, Algeria and to some extent Tunisia)
  • Strong interest/involvement in civic/political affairs


To recruit the participants, AWRAD cooperated with local, community-based and/or youth organizations in each country.

A total of 334 young people participated in the Focus Group discussions across the six countries. The participants’ distribution was as follows:

Age groups

15 - 18

25.45%

19 - 24

36.97%

25 - 30

35.15%

N/A

2.42%

Gender

Residency area

N/A

0.30%

Refugees camp

14.24%

Town

21.21%

City

64.24%

Occupation

Employed

42.91%

Student

32.77%

Unemployed

19.26%

N/A

5.07%

In addition, each participant was asked to answer a questionnaire on his/her interests and habits in relation to media and broadcasters. The following graphs present the overall results for all six countries, and the detailed results for each country (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine). They also provide disaggregated results by age and gender where significant variations exist.

How often do you watch TV? 36% 31% 33% Very Often Rarely Regularly 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 How often do you watch TV? 36% 31% 33% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 VeryOften Rarely Regularly
How often do you listen to radio? 21% 58% Very Often Rarely Regularly 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 21%