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News Media and Political Socialisation of Young People: The Case of Bahrain

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posted on 12.09.2013, 14:25 by Ebrahim Abdulrahman Al-Shaikh Hasan
This study investigated the influence of various forms of media (old and new) on the political awareness and socialisation of secondary school students in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Data were obtained from focus groups conducted in eight schools and a survey of 1,179 respondents aged between 15 and 22 years from 12 schools located across Bahrain. This study found that young Bahraini males (teenagers and young adults) displayed more political interest, greater political knowledge, greater political involvement and greater trust in politicians than did young Bahraini females. There were also significant differences between residence areas in terms of trust in politicians. Young Bahrainis with greater political involvement achieved higher political knowledge scores and the young Bahrainis who had greater religious interests also had greater political interests. Parents, peer groups, religious interest, people in the media and teachers contributed significantly in forming political interest, political knowledge and political involvement among young Bahrainis. Male students had significantly more confidence and trust in the government, the judiciary, parliament, Bahraini TV broadcasting and Bahraini domestic news websites than did their female counterparts. The internet and parents were the sources that contributed the most in forming political knowledge among young Bahrainis. This study found that watching TV and using the internet were positively correlated with political interest and involvement. Furthermore, the results indicate that the internet, newspapers and TV had a significant influence on political knowledge, political involvement and political interest among Bahraini young students. Areas of residence influenced young Bahrainis‘ preferences for channels and websites with in terms of whether they lived in Sunni or Shiaa governorates. Generally, religious interest and sect play an important role in political socialisation and political life in this small country.



Gunter, Barrie; Campbell, Vincent

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University of Leicester

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