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An Opinion Poll About The Use of Satellites in Iran

Iran (Morning Daily)
Monday, Dec. 13, 1999, No. 1404
By: Iran Daily Research Group

In order to assess the availability of foreign T.V. stations in our country, an opinion poll was conducted by a research group set up by "Iran Newspaper" in Tehran. 54 women and 46 men answered the questions in this poll, and the following results were obtained:


As to whether they had the necessary equipment to receive foreign channels, 29 percent answered "Yes", and 71 percent answered "No". Among those who admitted to possessing satellite receivers, 30 percent mentioned they watched programs such as series or films, 18 percent said they watched news broadcasting, 17 percent liked watching (talk- and game-) shows, 15 percent were interested in sports programs, and some 4 percent were fans of scientific programs, while 1 percent was interested in commercials. Since series and films obtained the highest percentage, it must be particularly in this field that domestic T.V. networks have not been able to cater to the needs of viewers enough to prevent them from resorting to foreign broadcast T.V..


Obviously, watching satellite broadcast programs becomes more frequent among those who install the apparatuses in question. Although over two thirds of those questioned said that they did not possess satellite reception equipment, 56 percent of these chose to answer "Yes" because they were nonetheless able to watch satellite programs one way or another, while the remaining 44 percent said they were simply unable to watch them. Only 20 percent of those who had the possibility of watching foreign channels said they did not watch them. Of the remaining 80 percent, when asked about the frequency with which they did so, 43 percent said sometimes, and the remaining 37 percent stated they mostly watched satellite broadcasting.


What is the reason for your not having purchased a satellite reception apparatus so far?

Answering the above question, 40 percent of the interviewees said the broadcast programs were not acceptable among family members. Apparently, there are still many people who firmly believe in traditional morality and a "good" family upbringing. Their being immoral constituted the main reason for 16 percent of those not wanting satellite equipment, 14 percent said they could not afford to buy the equipment, 10 percent said they didn't want to expose their children to those programs, 9 percent said it was against the law, while 6 percent were afraid of the consequences and penalties, and the rest mentioned other reasons.


The activities of educational organizations such as T.V. networks are based on the specific cultural context they are set in. That is why many values, habits, and behavioral norms of a nation are represented by certain programs, and this is also why these programs are not always comprehensible for other nations. When we asked the interviewees about the compatibility of satellite T.V. programs with the culture of our society, 28 percent said "not compatible at all", 19 percent said the programs were absolutely compatible, 14 percent said "to some extent", and another 14 percent said there was little compatibility. 17 percent answered they did not know, and the rest didn't voice their opinion.


57 percent said they were very enthusiastic about certain satellite programs. 31 percent said they were to a certain extent, while the others said either a little or not at all. When interviewees were asked why they were so interested in satellite programs, they named the following reasons: 39 percent said the programs were entertaining, 18 percent liked the programs because they experienced less censorship or none at all, 15 percent said they became interested in programs when hearing people talk about them, 13 percent thought the programs were instructive, and 8 percent simply said they watched because their friends had the equipment. Others believed the domestic networks were unable to satisfy the needs of viewers in different age groups, or that the programs were monotonous, and still others said the domestic network programs were of very poor quality. Obviously, two thirds of the satellite T.V. program enthusiasts thought the programs were entertaining. The fact is that there are not enough recreational alternatives in Iran to fill up people's time.


Three fifths of the interviewees were in favor of the widespread use of satellite T.V. programs; 30 percent said they clearly favored it, 31 percent answered they did to some extent, 14 percent only just favored the public availability of satellite T.V. programs, and 24 percent were against it. The rest did not make any comment.

Since there is no way to prevent satellite transmission, the ban on purchasing and installing satellite equipment could give rise to the smuggling of these apparatuses and to their use in secret. Citizens actually become all the more curious and determined, since they generally consider themselves mature and sane enough to make their own choices. Improving both the quality and the quantity of domestic programs, while keeping in mind the age differences among the viewers, and catering to a diversity of tastes and needs will help domestic networks compete with foreign broadcasters. Such measures would also help broaden citizens' horizons.


The educational backgrounds of the interviewees were cited as below:

31 percent were university students and holders of associated degrees (post- high school education). 21 percent were college educated. 11 percent had not finished high school. 3 percent had a master's degree or higher. The remaining 6 percent did not answer the question.


20 percent were college students, 14 percent were white collar workers, 13 percent worked in educational institutes, 10 percent were businesspersons, 7 percent were housewives, 5 percent worked in medical centers, and 2 percent of interviewees were engineering and technical professionals. Other interviewees referred to other jobs or refused to mention their jobs.

Our colleagues were: Layla Qaem Maleki, Zahra Amini Moqadam, Mana Tabatabaii, Roya Omrani, Zahra Merrat, Ellahe Keshavarz, Massomeh Bayat, Nargess Mousavi, Fouzhan Shahdoust, Halleh Nabaiizadeh, Layla Nazari, Saideh Mohebi, Mariam Alizadeh.