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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Report: More Malaysians going online for news fix

Reuters' annual report says online portals are becoming the medium of choice for many, while WhatsApp dominates the news-sharing scene.
PETALING JAYA: Online portals are becoming the medium of choice for many Malaysians looking for their daily news fix, a Reuters report shows.
According to the newly released Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017, the growing internet penetration rate is one of the main factors behind the shift from traditional media outlets such as newspapers and television.
It said the internet penetration rate in Malaysia is currently at 70%.
However, it also cited “the declining credibility of the mainstream media, the spread of a purportedly ‘free’ and ‘independent’ digital media environment, and the easier and more immediate access to these news sources”.
The report said 86% of Malaysians polled look to online sources for their news. This was followed by social media (67%), television (54%), print media (45%) and the radio (15%).
Twenty-nine percent of those polled said they trusted news overall, while 32% said they trusted news that “they use”.
Sixteen percent believe the media is free from political influence and 18% believe it is free from business influence.
“The Malaysian public has trust issues with local media,” the report said.
“State/regime ownership and control of much of these media, coupled with their constant manufacturing of falsehoods and crude regime propaganda, are the main reasons for this distrust.
“Many subsequently turn to social media for news.”
In terms of channels, 51% of those polled said they use WhatsApp to get and share news, making Malaysia one of the top countries in this category. Malaysia was followed by Brazil (46%) and Spain (32%).
The report added that 65% of Malaysians polled prefer using smartphones to share news, followed by 45% who use computers and 18% who use tablets.
When it comes to the issue of fake news, the report said the definition of this varied depending on the party concerned.
“For opposition groups, the term describes regime propaganda.
“The regime, on the other hand, clearly capitalising on recent Western official critiques of fake news, has turned the argument around to help counter questions and critiques posed by news portals such as Malaysiakini, the London-based Sarawak Report, and even international news agencies.”
In March this year, it said, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had set up a portal known as Sebenarnya.com to allow Malaysians to check the validity of news.
This is the sixth annual Reuters report on the issue. It is based on a survey of more than 70,000 people in 36 markets as well as additional qualitative research.
The final sample size for Malaysia was 2,108 out of an estimated population of 31 million.
Ivy Chong contributed to this article. -FMT

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