Author: Jad Melki (2015)
The role of new media in the Arab uprisings and the news of widespread surveillance of digital and mobile media have triggered a renewed interest in Arab audiences research, particularly as it pertains to these audiences’ critical abilities and digital media literacy competencies. Taken for granted have been Arab youth’s widespread use of social media for activism and political expression and their suspicion of government monitoring and privacy threats. This study questions these assumptions and attempts to provide a more accurate picture of Arab youth’s media uses, with the goal of informing the development of digital and media literacy curricula for the region. The study surveyed 2,554 youth and compared their media uses across countries, genders, incomes, ages, and education levels. The findings suggest low media literacy levels and media uses apathetic to political activism and focused more on entertainment with little fear of government surveillance and privacy risks.