Noticing a gap in research available in Qatar on Media Literacy, and as part of the Doha Centre for Media Freedom’s (DCMF) commitment to improving the level of information about the media in schools, the Centre has conducted two major surveys.
The Centre contacted all schools in Qatar between January and March. Fifteen schools responded, 204 questionnaires from students and 187 from teachers were answered. The aim was to increase the amount of information about media usage in the classroom and teachers’ knowledge about the concept and practice of media literacy.
The majority of teachers surveyed work at public school, 65% were male and 35% were female.
“In recognition of the importance of empowering citizens to cope with new technologies and media messages, the centre conducted two surveys on the integration and use of media in formal education in Qatar,” said Rania Khaled Al Hussaini, the head of DCMF’s Media Literacy Programme. “The pioneering effort will aid the Media Literacy (ML) programme in its mandate to enhance formal education.
To the question: Which form of media students use most? Sixty-three percent % answered ‘Internet’ followed by 19 % who said ‘television’.
On the other hand, 45% of the teachers did not know if their students regularly followed the news but nearly 47% of teachers confirmed discussing news on an occasional basis. Among the most frequently-discussed topics are the Arab Spring, sports, weather and environment, Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid and National Day.
Regarding the concept of Media Literacy, 59% of the teachers had never heard about it only 14% of them teach it but “not much”.
The survey finally highlights the perception of media freedom in Qatar. Thirty-six percent of teachers said it is not restricted while 37% of them chose “limited” as their answer.
The survey shows that there are high percentages of media consumption amongst students in Qatar.
Therefore the DCMF recommends implementing Media Literacy programmes to broaden students’ perspectives and understanding of media. The Centre also recommends promoting Media Literacy programmes using the internet, in particular social networking sites.
After studying the survey, the DCMF has decided to begin Media Literacy training for teachers in September. In addition to raising awareness, training will enable teachers to voice their concerns with the media landscape in Qatar and elsewhere.