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[liberationtech] New Report on Media Consumption in Iran

Katy P katycarvt at
Tue Jul 17 17:06:28 PDT 2012

Are they going to release a more detailed methodology report?
On Jul 17, 2012 5:04 PM, "Collin Anderson" <collin at>

> Libtech,
> 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:
> Cordially,
> Collin
> ----
> *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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