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Media is increasingly recognized for its potential role in peacebuilding and social marketing.[1] The study included several questions on access to media, consumption habits, and perception of the various sources of information. A quarter of respondents (24%) felt they were not at all informed about events and news about CAR, while about half (48%) said they were moderately informed, and 28 percent said they were very informed. They generally felt more informed about what happened at the local level, with 44% saying they were very informed, 43% moderately informed, and 13% not informed.

Figure 15: Main Source of Information

The primary sources of information were the radio (51%) or friends and neighbors (38%). Fewer respondents identified local (4%), or religious leaders (2%), the television (2%), print media (1%) or other sources as their primary sources of information. However, radio was less frequently the primary source of information in the northern prefectures of Ouham and Ouham Pende, a reflection of the prevailing poverty, with fewer households owning or having access to a radio.

When asked specifically about access to the radio, 41 percent of respondents said they never listened to a radio, and 59 percent indicated listening to a radio at least occasionally (36% on a daily basis). Respondents listened most frequently to the radio in the morning (5:00-10:00, 76%), and late afternoon (16:00 – 18:00, 52%). Compared to other prefectures, fewer respondents reported listening to a radio in the northern prefectures of Ouham and Ouham Pende (35% in both prefectures), and among those who did, few listened to a radio on a daily basis (approx. 40%).

Figure 16: Radio Listening Habits

The most popular radio stations are Radio Centrafrique and Radio Ndeke Luka (respectively 66% and 62% of the respondents who listen to radio report listening to those radio stations). A quarter of the respondents listened to Radio Nehemie (24%) and RFI (23%). Over 10 percent of the respondents identify Afrique #1 (20%), and Radio ICDI (13%) as their radio of choice. Other radio stations were mentioned, some with regional importance. Radio Maria, for example, was listened to by only 4% of the respondents overall, but was the preferred station in Ouham prefecture (34%).

The main type of radio programs people listened to is news broadcasts: 88 percent of those listening to a radio reported listening to the news. Other frequently mentioned programs include religious programs (36%), programs on democracy, peace, justice (36%), announcements (35%), and programs on health (35%), and music or entertainment (31%).

As outlined above, newspapers and print media were seldom identified as the primary source of information. Nevertheless, 20 percent of those interviewed reported reading a newspaper at least occasionally: 3% read it on a daily basis, 7 percent read it more than once a week, 5 percent read it once a week, and 5 percent read it less than once a week. Reading newspapers was especially frequent in Bangui (45%) and to a lesser extent Ombella M’Poko (18%) and Lobaye (11%). In Ouham and Ouham Pende, less than 10 percent of respondents reported reading a newspaper at least occasionally. This is likely due to both the low availability of newspapers, the limited access, and high level of illiteracy. Among those who read a newspaper, in Bangui, the most frequently read newspapers were Le Citoyen (60%), Le Confident (36%), and L’Hirondelle (22%). Le Citoyen was also read by over 50 percent of those reading newspapers in Ombella M’Poko and Lobaye. In Ouham and Ouham Pende, respondents reported reading mainly religious pamphlets and publications.

Overall, only 2 percent of the respondents identified television as their main source of information. However, 26 percent reported watching television at least occasionally, which is more than the number of respondents reading newspapers at least occasionally. Again regional differences were important with 58 percent of those living in Bangui reporting to watch television occasionally compared to 22 percent in Ombella M’Poko,  17 percent in Lobaye, 7 percent in Ouham Pende, and 3 percent in Ouham.

Finally, respondents were asked to rank their level of trust in the media on a scale from no trust at all to extremely trustful. The question was only asked to those using the media. Among those listening to the radio, 43 percent trusted it a lot or extremely. Among newspaper readers, fewer trusted it a lot or extremely (29%).

Figure 17: Trust in Media

[1] Spurk, C. Media and peacebuilding: Concepts, actors and challenges, SwissPeace Working Paper Series; 2002.