TV still main source of news for Russians, but only half believe it

The large majority of Russians says they prefer to get domestic and international news from television broadcasts, but only half see television as their most trusted news source.

A poll conducted by independent public opinion research center Levada in late March this year showed that 85 percent of the Russian population used television as their primary source of news, down from 89 percent in March 2016 and 90 percent in March 2014.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents also named friends and relatives as the main place to get fresh news, while 15 percent named radio, 14 percent named social networks, and 13 percent cited traditional printed newspapers.

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Participants in a spontaneous rally in memory of those killed in a fire at the Zimnyaya Vishnya shopping mall, in front of the Kemerovo administration building on Sovetov Square © Alexandr Kryazhev

Twenty-nine percent of respondents told researchers that they watch news on TV every day, and 42 percent said do so “practically every day.” Nineteen percent said they watch TV news on a weekly basis, and 10 percent said they never turn to this source of information.

As for news on internet sites, 10 percent of Russians said they read them every day, while 23 percent do this almost every day and 19 percent do so once a week.

When researchers asked Russians what the most trusted news sources were, 51 percent named television, 19 percent named personal communication with friends and relatives, and another 19 percent named news sites on the internet. Fifteen percent of Russians have the greatest trust in the news they read on social networks, 9 percent in newspapers and 8 percent on the radio. Ten percent of respondents said they do not trust any of the established news sources.

When answering the question about their attitude to social networks and information distributed through them, 70 percent of Russians agreed that social networks can be a source of important news, but even more people – 72 percent – said they use them to relax and reduce the impact of everyday stress. Thirty percent of respondents called browsing of social networks a “completely useless pastime.”

A different poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation in early 2016 showed that back then 48 percent of Russians found online news sources credible. Seventeen percent said they did not trust them and 20 percent of internet users said they did not use the web to get the news.

When asked which source of information they would trust more in the event of conflicting reports, the results were almost even: 32 percent said they found television more credible and 30 percent said the same about news websites.

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