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[liberationtech] New Report on Media Consumption in Iran

Collin Anderson collin at
Tue Jul 17 17:03:37 PDT 2012


Within the past month, both the US Broadcasting Board of Governors, in
collaboration with Gallup, and the Iran Media Program at UPenn's Annenberg
School of Communications have released separately collected and interesting
survey data on the media habits and trust amongst the general Iranian
public. IMP's report 'Finding A Way' is particularly instructive, and
incorporates the results of the BBG's work in a very accessible manner.
Both are generally skeptical of the news role of online social media in
comparison to the more ubiquitous reach of satellite television, chiefly
state media. I have attached some excerpts below, but highly recommend that
those interested in development and freedom of expression projects targeted
to the country read the report in full.

Full Link:




*Media Use*

When asked – out of the sources listed – to select their 3 most important
> news sources, TV was the first choice for a staggering 96% of the sample,
> followed by the press (45%) and friends and family (38%). The finding that
> so few respondents selected taxis, shops, cafes, and the mosque may suggest
> that – at least for our sample and at this time –public places are an
> uneasy space for information gathering and exchange, possibly due to the
> present political situation in Iran and the culture of guarded behavior
> and speech in public. But these observations must be tempered by the
> listing of strong ties (family and friends) and weak ties (neighbors or
> acquaintances) as important outlets for political information, potentially
> pointing to the trust that people place in their social networks, and which
> may be lacking in other public contexts.

The questions about online activities were asked only to those who were
> internet users. Among the analyzed sample, more respondents reported
> reading blogs (42% of the internet users or 20% of the sample, 203 people)
> than belonging to online social networks (20% of the internet users or 10%
> of the sample, 99 individuals). Also, 18% of the users (8.5% of the sample,
> 87 people) reported commenting on blogs, and 8% of the users (4% of the
> sample, 41 people) writing their own blog (15 of them update it less than
> once a month, 9 about once a month, 4 about every 2 weeks, 7 about once a
> week, 3 several times a week but not every day and 2 everyday).

Some 45% to 60% of Iranians watch satellite TV, according to estimates from
> the state media company and an Iranian research center, exceeding the
> number believed to use the Internet.

Twitter was, as of early this year, the least prevalent new media tool
> (used by 10 respondents – 2% of internet users, 1% of the entire sample).
> This finding is directly parallel to the BBG’s 2012 study which also found
> that 2% of users accessed the internet to use Twitter.

*Among Internet-based Survey Samples*

 ...for whom TV was among the three most important outlets, the most
> important source of news and information about politics and current events
> was the state-run and stateowned IRIB network (62% selected this station as
> one of their most important), followed by BBC Persian (55%) and Voice of
> America/Persian News Network(30%).

Among those who selected the internet as the most important
> information source (85% of the sample or 2392 individuals), the BBC Persian
> website – filtered in the Islamic Republic of Iran – was selected most
> frequently (38% of respondents indicated that it was one of the most
> important informational internet sites), followed by Tabnak (27%),
> Balatarin (25% of respondents, also filtered), Kaleme (which belongs to
> reformist candidate and Green Movement leader Mir-Hussein Mousavi, also
> filtered – 19%), the aforementioned conservative Fars News (18%), Aftab
> (17%, linked to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani; although it gives
> coverage to various topics its main focus is politics) and Voice of America
> in Persian (17%, also filtered).

As with the general population, a vast majority of the respondents (96%)
> reported having a cell phone, and nearly all of those who did have one
> (99%) used it to send text messages in the past month (with 50% texting
> several times a day, 21.5% at least once a day and 20% several times a
> week, but not every day). When it comes to more advanced cell phone uses,
> about one-third of the sample reported sending or receiving content via
> Bluetooth, with roughly half doing so about once a month or less (48%).

*Circumvention Tools*

A solid majority (73.5%) have not heard about these tools. Among those who
> said they were familiar with these tools (the remaining 26.5%), a  majority
> reported that it would be either easy (43%) or very easy (19%) to find
> and access such tools, 27% would find it difficult, 6.5% very difficult and
> 5% nearly impossible. Yet, as the figure shows, respondents would not feel
> very secure using online tools that help circumvent blocked websites, with
> nearly half (46%) reporting they would feel insecure or very insecure using
> them.

Lastly, when asked to rate their ability to use circumvention tools,
> respondents who have heard about them rated their ability as rather low
> (i.e., 22% bad, 29% poor, 28% fair, 22% good and 8% excellent).

Unsurprisingly, as our additional analyses have found, it was the younger,
> male, and more educated respondents who were more likely to know about
> circumvention tools.

*Collin David Anderson* | @cda | Washington, D.C.
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