The awareness function of the mass media is at the heart of civic engagement, which is fundamental for a country in transition to democracy such as Egypt. This study examined the agenda-setting impact of Egyptian nightly television talk shows on attitudes towards civic engagement among the Egyptian elite. This primary research linked agenda-setting theory to civic engagement. Through setting the salience of news and creating sociopolitical awareness, agenda-setting establishes the first step in civic engagement, creating an informed citizenry. A primary content analysis of the three most popular Egyptian nightly television talk shows before the Jan.25th revolution: Masr Ennharda (Egypt Today), Al Ashera Masa'an (10 PM), and 90 Deqeeqa (90 Minutes), was conducted to measure the media agenda. A total of 78 episodes of talk shows were coded from October 6 to November 10, before the 2010 parliamentary elections. A primary survey was conducted among a purposive sample of the Egyptian elite (356 participants) to examine the public agenda and the relationships between exposure to talk shows, agenda-setting, and civic engagement. The findings support an agenda-setting impact of Egyptian nightly television talk shows at the first and second levels. Participants cited talk shows as their main source of information for the news issues they listed. Respondents' perceptions of the November 2010 parliamentary elections also corresponded with talk shows' framing of the elections. The first outcome of the agenda-setting impact on both levels is sociopolitical awareness, which represents the first and most basic level of civic engagement. One of the primary findings of this study is the significant positive correlation between perception of talk shows as civically engaging and attitudes towards civic engagement. This study also found a positive relationship between exposure to nightly television shows and attitudes towards civic engagement. A five-point civic engagement scale was created to measure the overall level of civic engagement among participants, which found that the elite sample surveyed is civically engaged. This study proceeded with conducting qualitative interviews with experts, producing recommendations for talk shows in order to play a more active role in fostering civic engagement in Egypt.


Journalism & Mass Communication Department

Degree Name

MA in Journalism & Mass Communication

Graduation Date


Submission Date

June 2011

First Advisor

Amin, Hussein



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Television talk shows -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Television talk shows -- Social aspects -- Egypt.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item