Social media takes on TV as favoured news source in MENA
Rebecca Hawkes
| 26 May 2014
Social media is becoming the primary source of news for a significant mass in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) beating television, newspapers and the radio for “millions”, according to a new report.

The Arab Social Media Outlook 2014, conducted by the Dubai Press Club (DPC) and Governance and Innovation Programme at the Mohammad Bin Rashid School of Government (MBRSG), found there were 71 million users of social media platforms across the Arab world by the end of 2013 out of a total of 135 million regional internet users.

“Social media is actively competing with conventional media as a primary source of news for millions of Arabs. Nearly 30% of individuals participating in the survey consider social media to be the primary source of news, which is similar to the percentage of individuals considering conventional media outlets as the main source of news,” said Fadi Salem, director of the Governance and Innovation Programme at the MBRSG and co-author of the report.

Mona Al Marri, president of the Dubai Press Club added the report “sheds light on new communication trends and poses a challenge to media professionals to constantly update their news-gathering procedures, especially in a time where the public have the tools to disseminate news [information] quickly.”

Egypt topped the Arab countries with the largest Facebook user base in 2013 and the UAE recorded the highest penetration to population ratio of 54%; an increase of one million users during 2013, said the report.