Perceived Effects of Film on Morality

People in MENA expressed opinions about the moral influence of films and television from various regions. These opinions do not necessarily correlate with how much people consume or enjoy those films and television.

Arab films and television are more likely to be seen as “good for morality” (59% feel this way) than are films and television from any other region. Less than one-quarter of residents feel films and television from other sources are good for morality, a consistently modest assessment in all six countries in the MENA region. In fact, they are more likely to describe films and television from outside the region as “bad for morality” than good. The oldest age segment (45 and above) is the most likely to feel films and television from outside the region are bad for morality.

Nationality seems to play a large role in perceptions of morality. Those of Arab origin(nationals and expats) are more likely to say Arab films and television are good for morality, while Asian and Western expats are more like to say U.S. (Hollywood), Indian (Bollywood) and European films and television are good for morality.

On the whole, people from the MENA region most enjoy watching films and television from within the region, and believe films and television from the region best portray Arab culture accurately and generally are good for morality. Many people enjoy watching films and television from other parts of the world, while at the same time they do not necessarily feel these films and television accurately portray Arab culture and many believe these films and television are not good for morality (and in fact, are bad for morality). 

Those with strongest opinions about preserving their culture (strong agreement that “more should be done to preserve cultural traditions”) are more likely to enjoy Arab films and television and to believe Arab films and television are accurate and good for morality. They also are more likely to feel non-Arab films and television are harmful to morality. At the same time, they are as likely as those who are less interested in preserving cultural traditions to watch and enjoy non-Arab films and television.

This issue of morality is discussed further in the Censorship and Cultural Attitudes chapter.