Majority use internet for news in MENA region

90% say internet is main source of information in new study

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Majority use internet for news in MENA region Survey claims internet is now a main source of information with the majority of people in the MENA region, stating that it has overtaken traditional news mediums as their main source of political, business and lifestyle and leisure news.
By  Vineetha Menon Published  December 21, 2009

A new study into the internet usage habits and attitudes of people from the Middle East and North Africa revealed that the internet is now a main source of information, with 78% saying that they used the medium for reading news atleast once a month.

The study, which was conducted in cooperation with research firm YouGov Siraj, is based on survey responses of 13,847 people (aged 16+) from the United Arab Emirates, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Pakistan collected online between 30th October and 22nd November 2009.

It saw 87% of people saying that the internet has replaced print news sources to some extent -  93% of respondents from Oman now rely on the internet for political news, followed by 90% in Egypt.  Only 13% from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain claimed that there's been ‘no change' when asked to indicate to what extend the internet has replaced print as their main source for political news coverage.

In terms of business news, 90% of the region's respondents now use the internet as a main source to varying degrees with heavy usage coming from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Algeria, while 91% of the region's respondents claim the internet is also a top source for lifestyle and leisure news.

While reading news was identified as one of the main uses of the internet (78%) in the region, e-mail took top position (83%). Other popular online activities include searching for jobs, (77%), visiting social networking sites and listening to music (57% each).

Other interesting highlights from the study include the general unpopularity of making online payments in the region, with only 45% saying they felt comfortable making payment transactions online for personal matters, and a sizeable 70% of online users in the United Arab Emirates stating that they felt virtual interaction was replacing personal contact.

3317 days ago
Anupama V. Chand

While it is true that the Internet is unlikely to replace the news papers in the next decade (we will still have papers carrying out the views function, i.e. analysis, as opposed to being purely news-centric), creadit has to be given to the Internet as a tool in spawning a slew of business and information websites, that make it easy for virtually anybody to jump into a virtual world and add their two-bits to a given news story.....yes, they do compliment newspapers in this function.....but can anything ever take away from the smell and touch of crackling newsprint, blending in with one's morning coffess, even as the birds chirp to herald the dawn.....ah, now that's atmosphere! Being in the news business myself, I have to admit that we would all be completely lost but for the tools that Internet and research put at our fingertips.....bringing the world to us and also taking us to the world!

3317 days ago

This survey is skewed. The survey was done online and if you ask online if you read news online, of course most people are going to say yes. In order to have RELIABLE results, you have to ask people online AND offline and then merge the results. I'm 100% sure if you ask 100 people on the street in Egypt, you aren't going to find that 90 of them read news online.

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