Sunday, February 12, 2017

Survey Finds Internet In Iraq Reinforces Sectarian Views

In 2015 during the Shiite pilgrimages of Arabeen to the shrine city of Karbala a group of researches from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) interviewed 1,668 Iranians and 2,410 Iraqis. One of the things they were asked about was where they got their news from, and how it affected their views. The vast majority of Iraqis, 89.7% got their news from TV. 69.9% said they received their information from friends and family. 48.5% read the Internet, 27.2% received it from their mosque, 9.5% read newspapers and magazines, and 8.4% listened to the radio. Social media and Internet calling and texting services were also important with 53% using Facebook, 49% using Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp, 43% using YouTube, and 26% emailing.

The survey found that those that got their news from traditional sources such as the TV, newspapers and radio were more pro-government. Those that had more access to media than conventional ones had more varied friends of other sects and less traditional views. Finally, people who only got their news from the Internet were not only more conservative, but also more sectarian to. It seemed that rather using the Internet to search out information, Iraqis instead used it to find sources that supported their established views and reinforced their sectarian opinions.


Christia, Fotini, Dekeyser, Elizabeth, Knox, Dean, “To Karbala: Surveying Religious Shi’a from Iran and Iraq,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 10/20/16

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