Entertainment Media Use in the Middle East, carried out by Northwestern University in Qatar with the collaboration and support of Doha Film Institute, endeavors to fill a gap in available knowledge on entertainment media in the Arab world through a comprehensive survey in six countries across the region. Each organization contributed information from its respective academic, industry and professional sources. This work complements a previous study of news and information media use conducted by NU-Q in 2013 and titled Media Use in the Middle East. These two studies represent a continuing commitment of Northwestern to foster understanding and development of media in the region.
As with our previous study, we encounter much diversity in media use in the region that is reflected not only in the mix of available content, but also in its points of origin. The Arab cultural marketplace has long welcomed Hollywood’s movie industry as well as films from Bollywood, Hong Kong and other filmmaking locales, and in this study we see the interplay of public acceptance and criticism of Arab film as well as films from outside the Arab world. In this study we observe a desire for more Arab films that reflect indigenous culture. In a region ravaged by conquest for centuries and the site of recent wars as well, it is not unexpected that Arabs see their traditions sometimes denigrated by Western media portrayals. At the same time, we see that many Arabs greatly value the diversity of international content available to them on satellite television channels and online.
Given the paucity of studies of the scope reported here, it is our hope that this research will encourage more attention to the study of Arab media—and it is our commitment to continue these inquiries beyond the numbers offered here. With its great traditions of oratory and storytelling, the Arab world has much to offer both researchers and lay consumers of entertainment.
We feel privileged to engage in this research and to make it widely available to students and scholars, policymakers, institutional leaders, media professionals and interested readers everywhere.
Doha, Qatar, April 16, 2014
-Everette E. Dennis, Robb Wood and Justin D. Martin
Everette E. Dennis is dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar. He has extensive international experience with media in Eastern Europe, Latin America and East Asia as having had assignments in Africa, Russia and Western Europe. He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served as a trustee of the International Institute of Communications. He has held professorships at four US universities and is the author of some 45 books on media industries, media law, freedom of expression, journalistic practice and related topics. He was senior vice president of the Gannett and Freedom Forum foundations and is a past president of the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication. He holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota and has advanced fellowships at Harvard, Stanford and the East-West Center.
Justin D. Martin is an assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University in Qatar who studies media and politics in the Arab world. A Fulbright scholar, he speaks multiple dialects of Arabic and has lived in Jordan, Egypt and Qatar. Martin's PhD is from the journalism school at University of North Carolina.
Robb Wood is director of strategic partnerships at Northwestern University in Qatar, where he works on corporate partnerships and serves on the school's research committee. He has previously been a producer at Al Jazeera English, head of Doha Film Institute's content and communications units and a university fellow at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, where he received his MA.