- Country Overview
- Communication Habits by Demographic Groups
- Religious Media Content - A Cable TV Phenomenon
- News Television in Pakistan: Who's Watching?
- News on the Radio: What Choices do Pakistanis have?
- Attitudes towards News and Information
- High News Consumers: A Profile
- Media Outlet Matrix
- Country Statistics
- Survey Methodology
The survey asked a series of questions to respondents about the quality of the news they consume.
Below is a complete list of questions asked.
How important, if at all, are the following to you?
Being a source of news you can trust
Providing Unbiased and Objective News and Information
Being First to Break News
Providing Detailed Analysis of News Events
Providing High Quality News
Providing news that is relevant to you
Being easy to understand
Providing a different approach to news
Being a news provider I know a lot about
Being a popular news source
Options for responses to each of these questions were “extremely important”, “very important”, “fairly important”, “not very important”, “not at all important” and “don’t know”.
How much you agree or disagree, that the statement applies to you?
I always search out different points of view on major stories in the news
I invest a large amount of time attempting to understand current events in the world
I trust foreign broadcast stations significantly more than broadcast stations in my own country
It is extremely important to have access to foreign news and information providers
I always consider a range of views before forming my own opinions
It is important to me that news gives me an opinion on events rather than just giving me the facts
News reporting should include analysis, debate & comment
Besides knowing what’s happening its also important to know why its happening
I am choosy about where I get my news from
Some news media sources are credible, some are not
Options for responses to each of these questions were "agree strongly", "agree slightly", "neither agree nor disagree", "disagree slightly", "disagree strongly" and "don't know"
KEY COMMUNICATION AND DEVELOPMENT WEBSITES AND PROJECTS
Pakistan Attitudes toward News and Information
Pakistani Views On News and Information
by Gayatri Murthy
How do Pakistanis judge the quality of the news they consume and choose which news sources to turn to first? How do discerning news consumers differ from the rest of the population?
Click here to view the companion article
How do "Discerning News Consumers"
Differ From the Overall Population?
Sixty percent of respondents thought it important that the news provided is of high quality (chart 1).
Following this, a series of questions in the 2008 Pakistan survey help to identify the most important factors that define high quality news for Pakistanis- trust comes out on top. Nearly 70 percent or respondents said they consider it “extremely” or “very” important that their news source is one they can trust (Chart 2).
The importance of trust in one’s news source increases with education levels. In addition, the importance increased for high news consumers (HNCs).
Many Pakistanis also look for news sources that provide “unbiased and objective news and information” (chart 3).
Slightly more Pakistanis attached high importance to receiving breaking news first than to receiving detailed analysis of news and events (Charts 4 and 5).
Other highly rated qualities included “being a popular news source” as well as “being easy to understand” (Charts 6 and 7).
Some other opinions considered less important are outlined in Charts 8-10
Plurality of Information Available
In addition to their opinions on the news sources they choose, respondents were also asked whether they search for a range of views on major stories in the news: 52 percent said they do (chart 11). Forty five percent said they invest a large amount of time attempting to understand current events.
Of the 4020 survey respondents, 1220 were discerning news consumers (DNCs). Sixty six percent of our DNCs consumed news daily. (Read more about high news consumers- HNCs here).
Weekly TV viewership was not significantly different between DNCs and the rest. In fact, viewership of state run PTV and the most popular private network-Geo TV was similar for DNCs and the rest as well. But DNCs showed higher viewership of news channels- both state owned and cable - than the rest of the population. In the case of Geo News in particular, DNCs were 13 percentage points more likely to watch it than other respondents (Table 1).
In general, DNCs are more likely to read newspapers; their weekly readership is 32 percent versus 19 percent for other respondents. Internet use is generally low across the country, even among DNCs.
Radio news is only available on state run Radio Pakistan or foreign broadcasters (PEMRA, the Pakistani regulatory authority bans private domestic radio stations from broadcasting news). DNCs are 7 percentage points more likely to tune into any station weekly (35 percent weekly listenership for DNCs versus 28 percent for the rest). Listenership for BBC is much higher for DNCs than the rest of the population, while VOA is only slightly more popular with DNCs (table 2)
DNCs express significantly higher levels of trust in foreign broadcasters than they do in domestic broadcasters, and they consider it extremely important to have foreign broadcasts available in Pakistan. BBC is the second most popular radio service in Pakistan (although Voice of America or other foreign broadcasts Deutche Welle and All India Radio have very low listenership even among DNCs).
DNCs' levels of trust in foreign stations are generally much higher than for the rest of the population (table 3 and 4).
- As education and news consumption increase, respondents show evidence of engaging with news content at a deeper level. Those who had received secondary or post secondary education, or those who accessed news daily, were most likely to search for different points of views.
Moving Beyond the Facts
Half of our respondents agreed that getting opinions is more important than receiving just facts-a trend which increases as education level rises.
In addition, 60 percent of respondents also strongly agreed that understanding events (“why things are happening”) is as important as knowing the basic facts about events ("what is happening”). Forty five percent said they spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand news (chart 13 and 14).
Opinion and deeper understanding went hand in hand with a need for news reporting to include analysis, debate and comment- although many respondents were non-committal (neither disagree or agree, see chart 15).
The survey results suggest that most respondents are discriminating in their judgments of various media sources. Charts 16 shows a majority of respondents agree that “some news sources are credible, while some are not.” Half of respondents said they are choosy about where they get their news from (Chart 17).
We also analyzed the responses to some of the opinion questions to determine if people with discerning opinions on news in Pakistan are likely to have differing media consumption habits than the rest of the respondent group.
We combined the responses from a few select opinion-related questions (the box to the right shows the complete list) and constructed a variable to define a “discerning news consumer” (DNC) based on the respondents who rated news quality to be “extremely” or “very” important”.
We found that: