The mass media nowadays hold a high position in the educational world, /
and have a strong influence over societies. They influence and shape people's
thoughts and behaviour. They have been used for a long time in many western
countries in drug prevention campaigns, both successfully and unsuccessfully,
Drug abuse has recently become a serious problem in Saudi Arabia . At first
the Government tried to tackle the problem only by using the police force and
without any publications . However, recently the Government has tried to
utilize the advantage of the widespread mass media in teaching the population
about the dangers of drug abuse. It started to publish a large amount of
information about drugs in the mass media.
This study is an evaluative research to assess the Saudi Arabian mass media
coverage of the drugs issue in two respects. First is a study of the content of
the coverage with regard to its presentation, style, and appeal. The second part
concentrates on the effect of that coverage on the target audience: Saudi
Arabian pupils, their knowledge and attitudes toward drugs, and whether those
publications have benefitted them or not.
This study has adopted the information-processing model as a theoretical
framework. According to that model the first step in the change process is
exposure to the message with a certain level of attention, that will lead to
increase in knowledge and that automatically will lead to attitude change.
The respondents' exposure to the newspaper messages about drugs has
been measured and the result indicates that the majority of the respondents
received the messages and are interested, like and believe them. Statistical tests
indicate that their knowledge about drugs has been increased. Their attitudes
have been assessed and the results indicate that most Saudi Arabian pupils aged
from 12 to 25 years old have negative attitudes towards drugs. The results
indicate that the newspaper coverage of the drugs issue has had some influence
upon the Saudi Arabian pupils' knowledge and their attitudes towards drugs.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.