Malaysians' trust in traditional media leaps over 5 years, finds Ipsos study

Malaysians trust traditional media sources such as newspapers, TV and radio more now than five years ago. Perceived changes in trust of newspapers and magazines among Malaysians saw a 21% increase in net score over the past five years, while TV and radio saw a 24% increase, Ipsos Malaysia said in a new study.

This was compared to the 16% decline in global average net score for both segments. The net score refers to the combined percentage of respondents who indicated they have great deal or fair amount of trust in a media source, minus the percentage of respondents who do not trust a media source.

Meanwhile on the online front, there is a bigger trust gap between traditional media and online news sources in Malaysia than it is in other countries. Perceived changes in trust of online news websites and platforms in Malaysia only increased by 12% over the past five years. This, however, is still higher than the global average which witnessed a 12% dip.

TV and radio (68%) came out on top as the most trusted news source among Malaysians, followed by newspapers and magazines (62%) and online news (62%). The global average for these respective segments stand at 49%, 47% and 47%.

According to Ipsos, country patterns remain stable for trust in different news sources, with Malaysia ranking among the highest along with India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Meanwhile, Hungary, Serbia and Poland are ranked among the lowest.

Although Malaysians' trust in traditional media is high, Ipsos said that they also trust news and information from people they know in person "more than any other source".

Nonetheless, Malaysians strongly believe that the media act with good intentions. Majority of Malaysians think newspapers and magazines (79%) have good intentions, followed by 77% for TV and radio and 70% for online news sources. Malaysian respondents are also much more trusting of public broadcasters, Ipsos noted. This is similar to respondents in India, Peru, Sweden and Germany.

According to Ipsos Malaysia's managing director Arun Menon, Malaysian's increase in trust of the media was "particularly obvious" in the data post the 14th General Elections in 2018. Menon added:

Malaysians also do tend to trust news coming from sources that they are familiar with, giving traditional channels an edge over online news platforms.

"Within a community like Malaysia where family and key influencers opinions are heavily depended on, this is important for the community to take note as what we say and pass on to the people we know matters, hence we would need to be cautious and careful as to the source and type of information that we passed on," Menon said.

The findings are from Ipsos' Global Advisor online survey conducted between 25 January and 5 February 2019. The respondents are from countries including Malaysia, Japan, India, the United States, Australia and China.

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