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DD News, Times of India most trusted news sources in India, Reuters-Oxford study finds

Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, think tank at Oxford, conducts study in India, Brazil, the US and UK to understand drivers of trust in news, factors responsible for apparent decline in recent years.

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New Delhi: The DD News and The Times of India (TOI) are the most trusted news media sources in India, according to a new study which found that 46 per cent and 42 per cent of respondents, respectively, stated they “completely trust” information from the two sources.

A further 36 per cent and 39 per cent stated that they “somewhat trust” information from DD News and TOI, respectively.

The study, conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), a think tank at the University of Oxford, also found that the media and the police are the two least trusted institutions in India, with 25 per cent saying they “completely trust” media and police and 52 per cent said they “somewhat trust” the media and 46 per cent saying they “somewhat trust” the police.

Released on 9 September, the study is part of RISJ’s ‘Trust in News Project’ and focused on people’s attitudes towards news in four major countries — India, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil.

The project “seeks to understand the drivers of trust in news, the factors responsible for its apparent decline in many countries in recent years, the differences in how this plays out in different places around the world, and what might be done about it”.

The findings are the result of 12-15 minute-long online survey fieldwork that the Reuters Institute had commissioned in May and June 2021.

Three research and analytics firms  — London-based Kantar Group in the UK and US, Instituto Datafolha in Brazil and Delhi-based Internet Research Bureau (IRB) in India — conducted the surveys. In each country, the research firms used random sampling of over 2,000 respondents, with the IRB recording responses from 2,015 people.

According to IRB data, 47 per cent of the respondents in India were female and 46 per cent were under the age of 35. At 16.72 per cent, a plurality of the respondents were from Maharashtra while the second highest regional sample was 12.41 per cent from Delhi-NCR.


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Who do you trust more?

As far as trusting in news organisations, DD News and TOI came up in RISJ’s exploration of people’s opinions on news in general, and news sources in particular.

“We asked respondents about both whether they trust information from the news media in their country in general and the news media they themselves choose to use,” RISJ stated.

The study revealed that “even the most trusted” news sources recorded slightly lower levels of trust compared to trust in “news in the abstract”.

In India, 88 per cent of respondents said they either completely or somewhat trusted news in India in general. As much as 82 per cent had “somewhat or complete” trust in DD News while its was 81 per cent for TOI.

In all, 15 Indian news brands were listed, including All India Radio, NDTV, Hindustan Times, Zee News, Republic and The Hindu.


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Institutional distrust

One of RISJ’s stated objectives was to examine how the public’s trust or distrust in news is linked to trust or distrust in other institutions. In this regard, RISJ found: “Overall trust in ‘the press’ is lower compared to many other institutions in society.”

In India’s case, for instance, just 25 per cent of respondents said they “completely trust” the press or the police, but 71 per cent “completely trust” the military and 62 per cent put their trust in scientists.

The study noted that those who expressed distrust were “more likely” to be older, male, non-Hindu, unemployed, retired or self-employed, from a lower-income household and “overrepresented in smaller towns”.

Furthermore, these respondents were “less likely” to have a college degree, to have a favourable view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to be from north India.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)


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