Days since MCO

MCO started on Mar 18, 2020


Days till RMCO lifted

RMCO expected to lift on Aug 31, 2020


Our coverage on COVID‑19

Do you trust over newspapers?

It’s 2019, and times have certainly changed from the days of buying newspapers in the morning, and relying on that one, singular source for news—from yesterday. Instead, most of us haven’t purchased a newspaper in a good few years. Whether it’s social media or digital media, the fast-moving world has arguably moved past traditional media, hasn’t it?

In a new report by global market research firm, Ipsos, it’s been found that Malaysians now trust local media outlets more compared to 5 years ago. Perceived change in trust over the past 5 years towards local media such as newspapers and magazines has gone up by 21%, 24% for local television and radio news sources, while 12% of Malaysians trust online news sources more than they did 5 years ago .

Tellingly, Malaysia seems to be an exception here, after it was revealed that there has been a decline in trust towards traditional media in most other countries. This is shown in global net scores of -16%, 4%, and -12% for print media, TV/radio, and online media respectively.

According to the report,

“Trust in media sources varies greatly across individual countries. For example, 71 percent in India and 58 percent in Malaysia trust TV and radio, compared to just 17 percent in Serbia. Malaysians report that they trust the media more now than 5 years ago, and the increase in trust is particularly strong for traditional media such as newspapers, TV, and radio.”

So what about us online media?

Ipsos revealed that more than half (52%) of the respondents believe there is a great deal or a fair amount of fake news in traditional media. However, it seems that people are particularly sceptical of the information received by online news websites and platforms, as 62% overall say the information they provide contains a great deal or fair amount of fake news.

This appears to suggest that people seemingly doubt the credibility of the sources that online media has, which could potentially lead to the propagation of dubious news, regardless of any malicious intent or not.

“Online media websites are slightly less trusted than traditional media, but trust in them is not reported to have dropped as extensively over the past five years. “

– Key findings from the study.

However, 27% of Malaysians do not feel that fake news is that prevalent on online media platforms. In a statement made on July 10 2019, Ipsos Malaysia MD, Arun Menon explained:

“It is interesting how whilst the rest of the world is declining in terms of their trust in the media, Malaysia’s trust has increased. This was particularly obvious in the data post the 2018 general election. Malaysians also do tend to trust news coming from sources that they are familiar with, giving traditional channels an edge over online news platforms.”

This is reflected in the trust net scores of 25% and 38% for print media and TV/radio, respectively. Instead, trust towards online media is given a net score of 8%—that’s still a “fair amount of trust”, according to the study however.

But to simply rely on this one statistic would be glossing over some other, more interesting, figures. Another dimension to understanding the findings is to consider whether respondents believe that media sources are acting with good intentions when covering the news.

70 percent of Malaysians responded with support for online media sources, with respondents feeling that local online news platforms act with good intentions (as opposed to 49% globally). This would appear to reinforce the theory that Malaysians don’t think that online media is intentionally propagating fake news, instead they doubt the credibility of our sources.

The study was conducted with a global sample of 19,541 adults between the ages of 16 and 74 (in most countries), while more than 1,000 respondents participated via the Ipsos Online Panel. Although around 500 Malaysians were surveyed for the study, Ipsos has revealed that the sample is made up of the more urban and educated with a higher income than their fellow citizen—not exactly a fair representation of the general population.

While Malaysians generally trust media more as opposed to 5 years ago, it seems that Malaysians do indeed recognise that online media platforms have “good intentions”—we certainly do, but what do you think? Do you trust us? Let us know in the comments section below.