SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Youth and Independent Media in Tunisia: Focus Group Findings

Thursday , 15 April 2021
This report presents the findings of a series of focus group discussions that the Samir Kassir Foundation (SKF), in partnership with Barr Al-Aman, held in Tunisia in January-February 2021. The focus groups aimed to assess how young Tunisian men and women, aged 18-25, perceive the independent, nascent media scene in their country. The report is part of SKF's contribution to the CFI-led and EU-funded D-Jil project to support youth-oriented independent media in the MENA region.

Qualitative research around the same topic had previously been published about youth and independent media in Lebanon.

These findings can serve as advice to Tunisian independent outlets who wish to produce more engaging content, and increase their reach and credibility:

1. Participants used a mix of social media platforms and TV/radio to acquire news. Word of mouth was also a noteworthy source of information. Many participants expressed a distaste for comment sections. It was generally agreed that information found on social media should not be taken as truth.

2. The majority of attendees verified information they acquired, especially news from social media platforms. News that was not credible was deemed not worthy of sharing. The participants were scrupulous when it came to cross referencing news.

3. Global news sites were perceived as more trustworthy when it came to international news. The New York Times, for example, was mentioned multiple times.

4. Participants were open to a diverse range of topics including politics, culture, and women’s rights. They felt that education and local tourism as standalone subjects were overused. The integration of mental health resources into the education system sparked discussion and tackled a concept many deemed important.

5. Content that resonated with participants on a personal or nostalgic level was valued. Content that was funny, entertaining or lighthearted also increased its shareability.

6. Participants were particularly critical of production quality, and believed the samples shown needed professional guidance. The poor quality affected the clarity of these samples’ messages, and also made them seem less credible.

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