In the age of fast-paced social media wherein terms like ‘fake media’ or ‘fake news’ is increasingly gathering popular connotation, a significant majority of Indians believe that news reporting by their mainstream media is fair and objective, a survey has said. In all the parameters Indian media scores better than the American media. Against a global median of 62 per cent people agreeing that news organisations are doing a good job at reporting the news accurately, the Pew survey said that 80 per cent of its Indian respondents said that reporting by their news organisations was accurate. Only seven per cent of the Indians believe otherwise, as against a high 43 percent in the US, who said that their media was not objective and accurate.
However, a majority (56 per cent) of Americans still believe that the mainstream media is objective and fair in reporting. Next week, the President Donald Trump has announced that he will present one of its kind ‘Fake Media Award’ to those media outlets he argues does inaccurate reporting. Quite often Trump identified some of the top American media outlets – CNN, New York Times and Washington Post – as fake media. According to Pew Survey, as many as 72 per cent of the Indians believe that their media is doing fairly good coverage of the government. Only 10 per cent does not believe so, as against a high 41 per cent by Americans, which is higher than the global median of 39 per cent. 58 per cent of the respondents in the US still think that the media is doing a good coverage of the government, which is a point lower than the global median of 59 per cent.
In India, a low 16 per cent think their news media are doing a poor job reporting different positions on political issues fairly, compared with 65 per cent who say they are doing well. In the US, the figures stands for 52 per cent and 47 per cent respectively, against the global median of 44 per cent and 52 per cent respectively Pew said. According to the latest Pew survey, across other regions, India stands out for its percentage that follows local news very closely (61 per cent), against 40 per cent in the US and the global median of just 37 per cent. Whole in most of the countries surveyed, interest in local news is equal to or lower than interest in national news, people follow local news more than national news in just two countries – India and Indonesia, Pew said.
On the other hand, a global median of 57 per cent say they follow international news closely, and just 16 per cent follow it very closely. In India the figure stands at 53 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Only 16 per cent of the Indian respondents said that they follow the US news very closely, against the highest 28 per cent by people in Canada. Pew said a global median of 35 per cent say they use social media to get news daily, while 13 per cent use it less than once a day to get news. About half (52 per cent) say they never use social networking sites to get news. In India, notably, only 15 per cent said they use social media to get daily news. There is a disparity in the gender. Only eight per cent of the women in India said they rely on social media to get daily news, as against 22 per cent by men.
Releasing details of its survey, Pew said as many as 65 per cent of Indians consider that their news media is covering political issues “fairly”. The figure stands 72 per cent for government leaders and officials, and 80 per cent believe that the media is “accurately” covering the news and 72 per cent of them believe the most important news of the day are being covered fairly by the Indian media. In all these parameters, according to Pew survey, Indian media fares much better than the American media where the figure stands respectively at 47 per cent (for reporting political issues), 58 per cent (news about government leaders and officials), 56 per cent (news accurately) and 61 per cent (most important events)