TV now Malaysians’ most trusted news source, study reveals

Malaysians still prefer traditional press for trusted news over social media, with television taking top spot as the medium with the highest degree of confidence, according to a recent study.


The nationwide study conducted by International Islamic University Malaysia’s (IIUM) Electoral Study Group also ranked social media platform Twitter as the least trustworthy source, with over seven in 10 respondents mistrusting news shared on the microblogging service.

The study showed that seven in 10 Malaysians expressed their trust in television, irrespective of race or age.

“People can see the news visually, that’s one of the reasons why people trust TV more,” said IIUM’s Prof Datuk Syed Arabi Idid who leads the group.

Syed Arabi referred to his study on news coverage during Malaysia Airlines’ twin tragedies of Flights MH370 and MH17, where the public received their news initially from social media, but they had verified it against reports on TV.

Despite that, he pointed out that there was still a significant number of respondents at 34 per cent, who only trust TV “a bit”.

Trust in radio was second highest, with 63 per cent of respondents expressing faith in the medium.

This declined with respondents’ age, however, with six in 10 inside the oldest age group — those above 50 — saying they mistrust radio.

At 61 per cent, respondents also trusted newspapers nearly as much as radio, although this was lowest among Malays (59 per cent); among ethnic Chinese, 69 per cent said they trusted print media while 66 per cent of Indian respondents said they did.

Again, trust dwindled with age, as six in 10 respondents expressed suspicions about newspapers.

“TV is fast, while newspaper coverage only comes in the following day. News on TV comes at a certain time of the day. Meanwhile, through radio, they can only hear the news,” Syed Arabi told Malay Mail.

Only half of the respondents trusted Internet as their news source, with three in 10 saying they have “very little” trust for the medium.

The survey also showed that only younger respondents have “high” trust for Facebook.

Meanwhile, seven in 10 respondents did not trust Twitter as their source of news, with eight in 10 older respondents mistrusting it. Almost half of older respondents did not trust it at all.

The survey directly polled 2,551 respondents between November 25 last year and January 7 this year.

For the survey, respondents were asked the extent to which they trusted each media — ranking from “did not trust at all”, “did not trust”, “did not trust a bit”, “trust a bit”, “trust”, to “trust very much”.