Thursday, July 14th 2016
Iraqis have sharply increased their use of the Internet, so much so that a majority are now on line – and frequently.
“In 2015-2016 for the first time ever, more than half of Iraqis are using the Internet every week,” said Diana Turecek, Director of Audience Research for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN), speaking at this week’s monthly forum sponsored by the Public Diplomacy Council and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication Leadership and Policy.
Turecek added that this is “one media use trend in Iraq about which we can generalize across provinces and across demographic groups, and it is something important which has a lot of implications for public diplomacy and for broadcasters such as the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.” And this trend now includes women and residents of rural areas.
MBN produces AlHurra television and Radio Sawa broadcasts to Iraq, so this is directly relevant to its work; more at https://www.bbg.gov/networks/mbn/
Another finding: Facebook, one of the most popular destinations on line, is now a primary news source. 60% of Facebook users say they use it to consume news and information, according to data presented by Turecek.
Mohamed Younis, Gallup’s Senior Analyst for the Middle East and North Africa, was the other speaker at this month’s forum, and he presented information from surveys in the field in April of this year.
“We have conducted 250,000 interviews in Iraq, which is sort of mind-boggling,” Younis said.
The polling found the Iraqi economy in the worst condition it has been since Gallup started surveying public opinion in 2005.
“51% of Iraqis in April told us there was a time in the last twelve months when they did not have enough money for food,” said Younis.
This month's forum presented in partnership with the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy [http://communicationleadership.usc.edu/] and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy [http://uscpublicdiplomacy.org/]
The American Foreign Service Association [http://afsa.org/] hosted the event and has posted video of the program, including all of the speakers’ slides, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMHaXRk2uJo
Next month’s forum, on Monday, August 1st, will focus on the future of public diplomacy as an academic discipline, with Edward Schumacher-Matos, Director of the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. More about next month’s speaker is at http://fletcher.tufts.edu/Murrow-Center/About/Leadership.