BBG Research Series: Contemporary Media Use in Egypt

Television viewership ubiquitous in Egypt

Despite the political changes that have occurred in Egypt over the past several years, the media sources upon which people are relying for news and information have not changed significantly, according to media research data released today by the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

“Television is king in Egypt. It remains by far the most important source of news and information for Egyptians,” said Diana Turecek, director of audience research for the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). Nearly all (98.8%) Egyptians have a working television in their home, and 94% use it weekly for news. However, only 59.6% of Egyptians are somewhat or very satisfied with the information available on television about political developments in Egypt.

Egypt wrestles with continued political turmoil and a government that has become increasingly hostile to foreign media. Foreign correspondents are finding it more difficult to obtain press credentials, and the Committee to Protect Journalists notes that at least seven journalists are currently imprisoned in Egypt.

Mohamed Younis, senior analyst and senior practice consultant at Gallup, shared findings from the June 2013 Gallup World Poll that showed Egyptians’ life evaluations at an all-time low. Younis noted dramatic shifts in the views of Egyptians since April 2012 with confidence in government, approval of leadership, and confidence in the honesty of elections sharply declining.

Despite the popular reference to Egypt’s 2011 uprisings as the “Twitter revolution,” new media sources remain a niche way of accessing news and information in Egypt. Internet use is gradually increasing. The data from the December 2013 media use survey show that just 23.2% of Egyptians have used the Internet in the past week, with many non-users saying they don’t know how to use the Internet. While only a relatively small amount of Egyptians are online, those who go online do so frequently, with 80.1% reporting that they have used the Internet in the past week to read the news, and 84.9% reporting being active on social networks. Of the latter, essentially all (95.0%) use Facebook, but Twitter remains more of a niche with just 28.2% of social networking users accessing it in the past week, or about one in 20 Egyptians (5.9%).

Speakers were:

  • Chris Stewart, Partner, Gallup
  • Bruce Sherman, Director, Office of Strategy and Development, BBG
  • Mohamed Younis, Senior Analyst and Senior Practice Consultant, Gallup
  • Diana Turecek, Director of Audience Research, MBN


A central part of the BBG’s statutory mandate is to support freedom and democracy in a rapidly changing international environment. The ability of the media to report freely and accurately is critical in world affairs. Additionally, it is important for leaders and policy makers to understand how different populations around the globe view the quality, honesty and accuracy of their media, as well as how free they perceive their media to be.