Want to Know More about Culture in the Middle East? Turn to the Media!

The Middle East is a fascinating part of the world, one that’s attracted and fascinated the West throughout recorded history. 

However, for quite some time now the region has appeared to many people particularly in the West as a hotbed of controversy and unrest but it’s important to remember that this isn’t, at its heart, what the Middle East and Middle Eastern culture is about. 

If you limit your media exposure to one-sided media sources with regard to this part of the world then you’ll never get the real picture, and as a result, the opinions you form and the way you see the region will reflect a very one-sided and incomplete view, that the Middle East is a lost cause, a view held by some, though one you would be mistaken to hold. 

Social media in the Middle East – More than Facebook 

If you thought that the Middle East was overbearingly restrictive with regard to social media usage, you might like to rethink that thought, as the Infographic below from Go-Gulf.ae illustrates with some remarkable statistics. 

Social media is just as popular in the Middle East as it is elsewhere in the world and some of the trends you’ll come across on the Infographic might make you re-think the way that you see the region and its culture. For example, did you know that a higher percentage of Middle Eastern social media users communicate in English rather than in Arabic?

The Middle East and television – Holding a mirror to regional culture or the world’s?

Nowadays there are countless television stations throughout the Middle East, and not only media and news stations like the ground-breaking, revolutionary Aljazeera broadcast station. There are a number of television stations that focus upon decidedly upon non serious topics, like the much loved Zee Alwan channel which is home to a number of comedies, dramas, movies and special interest programs from around the region. 

Reality television is very popular in the Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia. Arab Idol was the most watched program in the UAE closely followed by Arab’s Got Talent, as you’re no doubt aware, a spin-off from the very popular Britain’s Got Talent TV Show.

It attracted an audience of 400,000 viewers out of a population of 9.2 million – that’s a lot of enraptured UAE viewers and highlights showing just how popular local spin-offs of Western reality shows have become. 

According to Chris O’Hearn, the general manager for Tview, a television audience measurement company that was set up 
in 2012,

“ …reality programs are still just massive here,” and “Programs have a long life when they are in a localised format. ”

Stay tuned for more exciting developments as they take place!

About the Author:

Sonia Allen,

Zee Alwan Channel.

Zee Alwan Channel is part of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, a leading entertainment provider in Asia. They offer popular Turkish and Indian series dubbed in Arabic to cater to the Saudi Arabian market.