Doha, Qatar –September 22, 2018: In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) is organizing a symposium – The State of the Internet and Digital Future – to address emerging trends and the socio-economic implications of internet use around the world.
“The symposium is a platform for the discussion of important issues related to global media development and Internet use while giving our community a chance to hear from experts and leaders in the field,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO at NU-Q. “It also bridges between NU-Q and the World Internet Project of which we are a proud member institution and work closely with on a number of research projects.”
The speakers will include Jeffrey Cole, director of the World Internet Project (WIP) and head of the Center for the Digital Future at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles. He will be joined by two of his distinguished WIP colleagues and scholars Professors Sergio Goday Etcheverry of the Catholic University of Chile and Andreina Mandelli of Bocconi University of Milan, Italy. The panels will also include several faculty members from NU-Q.
For a full schedule of the symposium, click here:
The conference will also see the launch of NU-Q’s latest report – a one-of-a-kind five-year retrospection of its annual Media Use in the Middle East survey. The surveys examine attitudes and perceptions towards political expression on the internet, online regulation and privacy, entertainment and cultural preservation.
The retrospection provides much-needed intelligence and practical data for industry and public policy on media consumption and use in Arab nations that include, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, with a special focus on Qatar.
“Qatar has been a central focus in our study for several reasons including our proximity and the growing demand for scholarly research and intelligence on media consumption in this highly-advanced and connected community,” said Dennis.
He added, “Qataris are not only some of the most digitally connected citizens in the world, they are also perhaps the most unique in their digital use. This study provides an understanding into the communication ecosystem and reveals the socio-cultural changes in Qatar.”
Key highlights of changes in Qatar include the following:
- In terms of internet penetration, Qataris have one of the highest internet use rates of any country in the world (saturation at 95 percent).
- Qatar has unique social media use patterns. Among all Qataris, 93 percent use Whatsapp, 70 percent use Instagram, and 64 percent use Snapchat. The latter two figures are among the highest penetration rates in the world for those two platforms.
- Qataris spend the most time face-to-face with family each week despite increased time spent online. Qataris now say they spend on average of 43.2 hours a week with family and 44.5 online.
- Compared to 2015, Qataris are far less willing to pay for news content—in 2017, 71 percent said they are unwilling to do so, compared with only 24 percent in 2015. Qataris are least likely to express willingness to pay for news content.
- Trust amongst Qataris in mass media has decreased. Nearly one-third of Qatari nationals say they do not trust mass media, more than double those who expressed this view in 2015.
- Declining numbers of Qataris believe people benefit from getting news from foreign news media – a decrease from 56 percent in 2015 to 33 percent in 2017.
- At the same time, belief that international news organizations are biased against the Arab World has doubled between 2015 and 2017, from 7 percent to 13 percent.
- Qataris’ belief that more should be done to preserve cultural traditions dropped from 94 percent in 2014 to 81 percent in 2016.
- Qatari nationals are now less likely to identify as culturally conservative. A decrease from 75 percent in 2015 to 41 percent in 2017.
The Media Use in the Middle East surveys by Northwestern University in Qatar have been conducted annually since 2013. Each year the survey has been conducted among 1000+ residents in each participating country, in collaboration with Harris Poll in conjunction with Pan Arab Research Center (PARC).