During the pandemic, general levels of trust in news media has grown globally, while in India it remained relatively low, according to the latest Digital News Report by Reuters Institute. While 44% of the respondents said they trust the news generally, the number remained at 38% for India.
However, the survey also highlighted that people were more inclined (45%) to trust the sources that they generally used. When it came to online sources, news gathered through search engines were trusted a lot more (45%) than news found in social media (32%).
The survey found 82% of the respondents in India to consume news through online sources; social media remained the biggest online source with 63% getting their news through various social platforms.
As for devices, 73% Indian respondents were found to consume news through smartphones, while only 37% got it from their computers. This made India one of the most mobile-focussed countries in terms of news consumption, according to Reuters Institute.
The study also found that global concerns for misinformation has grown this year, with people using social media more likely to say that they have been exposed to misinformation about the coronavirus, than those who do not.
Legacy Print, Govt Broadcasters Retain Trust
Times of India was found to be the most popular destination for news in the print/TV/radio category, while NDTV came second, with 44% and 43% of the respondents using these sources weekly, respectively.
For online news, the roles were reversed - NDTV's website was the post popular destination, while Times of India's website came second, with 35% and 32% of the respondents accessing their sites weekly, respectively.
However, when it came to trusting a news brand, Times of India came first, with over 74% stating their trust on the legacy print brand. DD News and All India Radio followed suite with 73% of respondents saying they trust them.
Other print media brands like the Indian Express, Economic Times, Hindustan Times and The Hindu, also retained high levels of trust.
Republic TV, came as the fourth most popular destination for news for both online and print/TV/radio categories. However, it also had the highest level of mistrust, with over 29% of the respondents saying they do not trust the channel.
The study also mentions that despite being popular and trusted sources, legacy print news brands like Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Hindu bore the brunt of the economic slowdown due the the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns.
"The pandemic has hit print circulation and decreased advertisements, leading companies to slash salaries, cut jobs, and close editions across the country due to the drastic decline in economic activity in one of the world's strictest lockdowns," the report said.
Among online news sources, news website The Wire had the highest levels of mistrust at 22%. NDTV, despite being one of the two most popular sources for news, had rather low levels of trust (68%) and high levels of mistrust (19%).
The study also found that 48% of the respondents in India shared news via social media, messaging apps or emails.
WhatsApp and YouTube were the most common platforms for sharing news (53%), followed by Facebook (43%).
Not A Representative Study For India
The survey was conducted YouGov and their partners, using an online questionnaire, towards the end of January to the beginning of February, 2021.
The study was conducted across 46 markets, with an overall sample size of 92,155 adults, with around 2,000 per market on average. Except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Romania, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey, the samples were assembled using nationally representative quotas for age, gender, region in every market, and education.
Because the survey was done entirely online, in countries like India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, the data represents a younger, English-speaking population, rather than the national population.
"More generally, online samples will tend to under-represent the news consumption habits of people who are older and less affluent, meaning online use is typically over-represented and traditional offline use under-represented," the report added.
This is especially true for countries like India and South Africa, where the internet penetration is at 524% and 58%, respectively, but less so for countries in Northern and Western Europe, where internet penetration is around 95%, the study adds.
Updated On: 2021-06-29T15:54:25+05:30
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