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Concerns about fake news on the rise in India: Ormax report

The agency surveyed over 1,000 news consumers in 17 cities.

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Mumbai: Two out of three news consumers consider fake news a major challenge facing the country's news organisations, showed the latest report released by media consulting firm Ormax Media.

According to the report Fact or Fake?, at least 65 per cent of the news consumers surveyed highlighted fake news as a major concern. The share of such individuals rose by four percentage points from last year, when the agency released the first edition of the report. Only 35 per cent news consumers feel that the news category in India doesn’t have any major fake news concerns, down from 39 per cent in September 2020.

The findings are based on a survey of news consumers, which was conducted to measure the credibility of various news media, as well as their overall perception towards ‘fake news’. The survey covered around 1,000 urban news consumers (15+ years) from as many as 17 states and Union Territories in India. The questions were asked through computer-assisted telephonic interview.

This is the second edition of the report, based on data collected in April 2021. The first edition was released on September 2020.

According to the report, print media continued to lead in terms of credibility, as 62 per cent of news consumers generally considered the medium to be credible. Radio held on to the second position with 56 per cent consumers considering it as credible compared to 57 per cent in 2020. However, all other media platforms showed significant decline in credibility – television's credibility index dropped from 56 per cent to 53 per cent and digital news apps and websites from 42 per cent to 37 per cent.

The number of consumers (from the sample) who consider social media platforms to be credible also dropped from 32 per cent to 27 per cent and messenger apps from 29 per cent to 24 per cent. 

Within social media, despite a drop since the last track, Twitter continues to rank on top with a news credibility Index of 47 per cent. No other social media or messenger app platform manages to touch even the 30 per cent mark, showed the survey.

 

Ormax Media, founder and CEO Shailesh Kapoor said, “Concerns around fake news have been escalating worldwide over the last few years. But a drop from an already-low score of 39 per cent to 35 per cent within just seven months, does not augur well for the Indian news industry. In the midst of a pandemic, credibility of news becomes even more important. We hope to see television news and digital platforms address this concern more proactively, before it becomes a brand safety issue for advertisers using these media, and a cause for rejection for subscribers of paid news services”. 

The report defines Media Credibility Index as a percentage of news consumers who find the news in a particular medium generally credible, respectively.

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