Western-Style Arabic Music Video Clips and Emirati Youth Changes

Maher Khelifa & Adel Jendli
Zayed University,
Dubai, UAE

Recently, Arabic satellite channels increasingly broadcast Western-style Arabic video clips (AVC). Although the song lyrics are in Arabic, they seem to promote foreign lifestyles and behaviors that depart considerably in content and in style from conventional Arab and Islamic shows that take into account viewers’ values and culture. This study examined the degree of Emirati exposure to and acceptance of these programs; examined the psychosocial impact of these programs on viewers, especially the impact of these shifts in content on traditional values, cultural identity; and family TV viewing habits. The study was conducted using a survey research on 360 young UAE male and female viewers. As hypothesized, results indicated that UAE viewers are frequently exposed to these programs, especially young females. Viewers tend to watch music videos out of: boredom, interest and entertainment, lack of better programs, and to keep up with latest videos, songs, fashion and style trends. Contrary to the study hypothesis participants’ identity, values and culture did not seem to be changing at the core by the content of these videos although they acknowledged that AVC normalized and altered their perception of indecent images. Participants who choose not view these programs reported varied reasons for their abstention including that these programs are blindly modeled after western shows, are harmful, and are against fundamental religious beliefs, values and morals. In line with the study hypothesis, results further showed that these programs greatly affect family TV viewing habits as these shows are not family oriented.

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