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Youth detachment from traditional media outlets must be addressed, according to new study

Tunis, 26 March 2016 - New research has revealed how the lack of representation in print and broadcast media is exacerbating youth exclusion from national discourse and debate. The research study was presented on the occasion of the Young Arab Voices “Debate to Action” Regional Forum in Tunis, and was a central theme of the regional debate competition with youth leaders from eight Arab Mediterranean countries. The Forum was also a platform for consolidating a new “media mentoring” mechanism aimed at bridging this gap between youth leaders and traditional media, in partnership with the Euro-Med Media Network (EMMN).

The new research, conducted across the Mediterranean region, stresses the need for identifying ways of increasing more positive coverage of young people in traditional media outlets, and enhancing the communication skills of alumni from positive change programmes such as Young Arab Voices. Media outlets and corporations are seen by some of the research participants as the most detached pillar of power for young people.

According to the study, these initiatives should also address the growing gap between online, print and broadcast media. The perceived lack of independent media is a key factor undermining the credibility of traditional media, reinforcing the importance of social media and online outlets as key sources of information and engagement for youth. This opens up parallel spaces of national discourse, in which younger generations are feeding into online outlets, while older generations still rely on traditional media.

The research has provided evidence that preparing youth for effective communication offers huge potential in terms of creating the basis for a real dialogue among peers to the north and south of the Mediterranean, as it can bring together emerging young leaders from the region to jointly work to provide new solutions to common regional problems. In this regard, the Debate to Action Regional Youth Forum has also included a new media mentoring exercise between senior journalists and media experts and young debaters of the Young Arab Voices programme, run by the Anna Lindh Foundation and the British Council.

The research report carried out in the last six months across eight Arab countries will be released soon.