Politics and the press in Kuwait: A study of agenda-setting.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 08:56 by Hasan Qayed. Saeed-Subaihi
This thesis investigates the concept of agenda-setting and its applications to research on the press in a Third World country, namely Kuwait. One characteristic of agenda-setting research in that so far it has been exclusively Western and in particular American. Another characteristic is that early research into agenda-setting was limited due to a focus on the process by which the media set the agenda for the public, and gave little attention to the process by which the media itself was created. This thesis, however, seeks to examine and explain the conditions under which certain issues and not others appear in the Kuwaiti press. The range of this study, therefore, was not limited to the correspondence between the media agenda and the public agenda, but it was also concerned to examine the way in which certain groups and institutions influence journalists and consequently the press. The review of literature shows the extent to which most of the investigation into the relationship between the media and the public has been carried out in America and identifies the limited work on links between the media and other socio-political institutions in the U.K. Where this thesis breaks new ground, however, is in its application of the methodology and findings of agenda-setting research in a Third World country, namely Kuwait. The choice of Kuwait in particular was neither haphazard nor arbitrary. The presence in Kuwait of modern socio-political institutions of a certain degree of maturity of development and the diversity of its press, in more ways than one, made it most suitable for the present research. In tackling its objectives, the research reported in this thesis employed two main methodologies. First, a questionnaire and interview were devised to explore and assess the importance of the issues involved, as well as the attitudes of each member of the sample from a conservative or liberal perspective. Two groups of representative samples were extracted from among government officials and journalists. This is followed by a content analysis of a random sample of material from newspapers. Results were subjected to a thorough statistical analysis of frequency distribution and cross-tabulation. This analysis provides, moreover, a detailed examination of correlations between the salience of a range of policy issues to journalists and officials on the one hand, and press reporting on the other. From this analysis the thesis derives conclusions about the political role and context of the press in Kuwait, and offers more general observations as to the applicability of agenda-setting research in Third World societies.