Media use predictors of online political efficacy among Internet users in five Arab countries

Justin Martin, Ralph J. Martins, Shageaa Naqvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Informed by research on the uses and gratifications of the Internet for political activity, this study examines predictors of online political efficacy among Internet users in five Arab countries (N = 4029): Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Lebanon, Qatar, and the U.A.E. As predicted, variables presumed to be associated with political dissidence in Arab countries – unemployment, distrust of mainstream media, young age, and feeling country is on the wrong track – were not positively associated with online political efficacy. Counter to what was hypothesized, however, Internet reliance and social media use were not strongly or consistently associated with online political efficacy in the five countries. Rather, the strongest predictors of efficacy were a belief in news media credibility, print media use (newspapers, magazines, and books), belief in the reliability of online information, and tolerance of free speech online. Findings align with some prior research on predictors of online political efficacy, but not with common presumptions of the role the Internet plays among Arab publics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Communication and Society
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Dec 2016

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Keywords

  • Arab countries
  • Internet
  • Online political efficacy
  • survey research
  • uses and gratifications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

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