Censorship & Cultural Attitudes
Portraying Reality in Entertainment

While the majority of people in these countries oppose the airing of “offensive” entertainment, they still want their entertainment to reflect “reality.” Many, though not majorities in all countries, believe entertainment offers an opportunity to learn about real life issues and events, and also feel entertainment should portray both good and bad aspects of society. Two-thirds of respondents say they learn about real life through entertainment media and that it is okay for entertainment to portray problems in society (63% and 67%, respectively). They are less convinced, though, that entertainment challenges rather than reinforces cultural stereotypes (49%).

Residents of Saudi Arabia, followed by those in the UAE, are the most likely to view entertainment as an opportunity to learn about real life issues (85% and 73%, respectively) and challenge stereotypes (77% and 53%, respectively). Tunisians and Egyptians do not agree, as less than half agree they learn about real life from entertainment (45% and 46%, respectively) and even fewer believe entertainment challenges cultural stereotypes (28% and 38%, respectively).

Two-thirds of all adults believe people benefit from watching content from different parts of the world (66% agree). While majorities in all countries of this study agree with this sentiment, the opinion is strongest in Qatar and Saudi Arabia (78% and 77%, respectively). Nationals of these countries are near as likely as expats living in the country to agree with this sentiment - 78% of nationals in Qatar and Saudi Arabia (and 73% in the UAE) agree that people benefit from watching content from different parts of the world. Tunisia is the only country in which less than half agree that people benefit from viewing content from outside the Arab world (44%).

Views on these issues are largely consistent across demographic groups. Older respondents and those with lower levels of income and education are less likely to feel entertainment media challenge rather than reinforce cultural stereotypes (44%, 45% and 29%, respectively). Those with less schooling are also less likely to see benefits in watching extra-regional entertainment (47% agree).