TV news received massive boost during war: ITC survey

MUMBAI: Audiences for news programmes on television received a massive boost during the Iraq War, according to a survey released yesterday by the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

The report aptly called Conflict Around the Clock, confirmed that the Iraq war is the most media-intensive conflict in history.

According to a company release, the ITC research stated that television was the main source of international news for 67 per cent of people world over, compared with 16 per cent for newspapers, 13 per cent for radio and 1 per cent for the Internet.

The survey made some interesting observations:

* It pointed out that multichannel viewers, traditionally less likely to watch news programmes, increased viewing by 145 per cent - from 118 minutes per week to 289 minutes per week - in the first week of the Iraq war. 

* Viewing in terrestrial-only homes increased by 84 per cent - from 171 minutes to 315 per week.

* However, though 77 per cent viewers surveyed said they were interested in the war coverage, 61 per cent thought there was too much of it. 

Excessive coverage?

Over a third of the people surveyed by the ITC had reservations about going to war without the United Nations' support or exploring diplomatic avenues more fully. And the survey noted that most of these viewers considered the amount of TV coverage excessive. These viewers were also more likely to consider the coverage unbalanced.

As a whole, about 52 per cent considered the TV coverage to be balanced, compared with 62 per cent saying the same for radio. Newspapers were seen as being less balanced. 53 per cent considered the UK daily The Sun to be biased in favour of the war.

The majority of viewers (42 per cent) felt that the UK and US governments were being as honest, with information only withheld when there was a legitimate security reason, while 32 per cent thought that information was being censored.

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