Moldova: Over Half of Consumers of Socio-Political News Believe They Can Identify Propaganda in the Media

Sixty percent of consumers of socio-political news in Moldova believe they have the necessary abilities to understand when a material in the media is manipulating and propagandistic, and when not. This number is 9% higher than in January 2016, according to the “People’s Perception of False and Distorted Information in the Media” poll produced in the period of September 1-18, 2016 at the request of the Independent Journalism Center, a SEENPM member.

According to the research, the share of consumers of socio-political news that sense manipulation in the media has grown from 51 to 60 percent since January 2016. However, many of them (38%) feel rather unprepared to deal with this phenomenon. In the respondents’ opinion, the most affected by manipulation are still political debates and newscasts on TV (56% and 53%, accordingly, believe that in these two types of programs one can find much and very much false information). These two types of programs have increased significantly since January 2016 – about 10% each.

The most perceived by consumers of socio-political news are such manipulation techniques as: choice of topics; sensational titles; reporting out of context; media materials made to create the image of a politician or public person; manipulating use of an expert’s opinion; etc.

So, 45% of consumers of socio-political news (13% more than in January 2016) believe that the media (almost) always “chooses topics” that are convenient to the outlet’s owner. Over one third (35%, again 13% more) feel that materials in the media are made mostly to create the image of a politician or public person. Further, “sensational titles” have grown by 11% since January 2016. A growing trend has also been found in the case of manipulation techniques: reporting out of context – from 18% to 24%; manipulating use of an expert’s opinion – from 16% to 20%; and unfair discrediting of a person – from 11% to 16%.

The poll’s conclusions show that people up to the age of 30, with higher education and residing in municipalities, perceive these manipulation means in a significantly greater proportion. This situation is explained by the fact that they are the most interested in information of political nature, they follow it more often and approach it more critically than other categories of people.

The “People’s Perception of False and Distorted Information in the Media” poll has been produced via telephone on a sample of 801 respondents from 147 localities of Moldova, in rural and urban areas.
The poll has been produced by the Independent Journalism Center within the media campaign against false and tendentious information “STOP FALS!”, conducted by the Association of Independent Press (AIP), the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and the VIP Association of Independent TV Journalists of Moldova (ATVJI).

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