BBG, Gallup Partner on Research

Washington, D.C. — The Broadcasting Board of Governors and Gallup today detailed the ways in which their new partnership is helping the BBG inform, engage and connect with people worldwide in order to better serve their needs and support U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.

“This partnership with Gallup comes at a critical juncture for U.S. international broadcasting,” BBG Governor Michael Meehan said at an event bringing together analysts from think tanks, government and academia. “Research is key to knowing our audience so we can serve them better and be even more effective with the limited resources we have.”

BBG Director of Strategy and Development Bruce Sherman noted that the agency had conducted audience studies through other means for years.  But he added, “Gallup’s industry-leading research will play a key role in helping the BBG accomplish the objectives in our new strategy, Impact through Innovation and Integration.”

At the event, Gallup presented the findings of a new global study of audience attitudes toward the media.

A median of 65% of adults in 133 countries say the media in their countries have a lot of freedom, but vast pockets of skepticism remain, particularly in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and former Soviet Union countries, the data show.

Gallup researchers Cynthia English and Lee Becker reported that only 23 percent of respondents in Belarus believe media in their country have a lot of freedom, the lowest percentage of the countries surveyed.  Next was Gabon, with 27 percent; Armenia, 29 percent; Mauritania, 29 percent; Congo Brazzaville, 30 percent; Palestinian Territories, 32 percent; Congo, 32 percent; Angola, 32 percent; Zimbabwe, 37 percent; Chad, 37 percent; and Iraq, 38 percent.

With few exceptions, perceived media freedom is highest in developed countries in Asia, Europe, and North America. They include: Finland, 97 percent; Netherlands, 96 percent; Australia, 94 percent; Ghana, 93 percent; Germany, 92 percent; Sweden, 92 percent; Canada, 92 percent; United Kingdom, 92 percent; New Zealand, 92 percent; Ireland, 91 percent; and Denmark, 90 percent. The U.S. figure was 87 percent.

The Gallup research is largely consistent with earlier studies of press freedom and with the BBG’s strategic plan to promote global media freedom and provide a credible source of uncensored world news.  The BBG is partnering with Gallup to conduct its global audience research program, which will inform current and future operations of its broadcasts in 59 languages to more than 100 countries.

The Gallup results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in 133 countries between February and December 2011. For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup’s Country Data Set details.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí).