Online and Social Media Overtake TV in Popularity in Ukraine – a New USAID-Internews Media Consumption Survey Says

The poll shows 68 percent of respondents use social networks to get news, an increase from 53 percent from 2018, while TV use is down to 66 percent compared to 77 percent last year. This reflects the global trend in the growth of popularity of digital media.

This year has seen a significant decline in public trust in media. Trust is down across all types of media, with an average 11 percent drop in comparison to last year. The most trusted source of information is internet-based media at 51 percent.

“We have been studying nationwide attitudes to media in Ukraine since 2012. As we see from this year’s poll results, the rise of internet and digital media is changing the way people consume news and information in Ukraine. Given the prevalence of disinformation online, and the difficulty people have in identifying it, it is vital to ensure that high quality, impartial journalism is available to people wherever they consume their news,”  Internews Director in Ukraine Gillian McCormack said during the presentation.

Key Findings Video:

The 2019 Media Consumption Survey was conducted by InMind at the request of Internews, an international media development organization that is implementing the Media Program in Ukraine with financial support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The survey’s main objectives are to define Ukrainians’ media habits and measure their trust in media, media literacy, and awareness of Ukraine’s reforms process. InMind representatives surveyed 4,056 people between June and July 2019. The sampling error is no greater than 2.5 percent.

The poll revealed that since 2015 the share of Ukrainian internet users has risen by 14 percent; 85 percent of Ukrainians are now online.

Almost 80 percent of Ukrainian readers and viewers are aware of “pre-paid materials” (known as jeansa) placed in media outlets, and self-evaluate that they are getting better at recognizing this type of content. The poll found that out of the 74 percent of people who know that jeansa exists, 68 percent say they know how to spot a “paid news” report, an increase of 12 percent from last year.

However, cultivation of critical thinking among adults remains an important step towards creating greater resilience to disinformation. As part of the 2019 survey, respondents across Ukraine were tested for their actual ability to discern real news from disinformation. First asked whether they believed they could spot disinformation, Ukrainians were confident – around 70 percent felt they could identify it. However, the results of a test showed that in reality only 11 percent of respondents were able to correctly identify the difference between real and false information in each of the three news stories provided. Two-thirds of respondents correctly identified only one out of the three options.

Finally, the survey also showed that Ukrainians felt that reporting on the reforms had declined during a year when political news and information was dominated by elections. Compared with last year, public awareness of energy sector reforms went up from 31 to 34 percent, while the numbers on healthcare reform awareness slipped from 71 to 55 percent and on pension reform from 61 to 48 percent.

Download the full presentation here

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