Indians favour stability over press freedom: BBC

Hard to believe but it’s true. “Although Indians are not strong advocates of media freedom and are generally satisfied with the accuracy of news reporting in their country, they are in favour of having a say in newsreporting decisions,” according to a survey done by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to mark its 75th anniversary.

India is only one of the three countries polled—Singapore and Russia being the other two—“where people who believe stability is more important than press freedom outnumber those who believe freedom is more important.” As many as 11,344 people across 14 countries took part in the poll conducted by the international research firms Globescan and Synovate.

Forty-eight per cent of respondents in India felt ensure peace and stability was more important in a society and hence felt controls were needed sometimes. Around 40 per cent Indians expressed the view that press freedom was more important to ensure a fair society. Singapore and Russia, among the countries polled, turned in similar results.

The BBC press release says this about India in toto:

“Forty-eight per cent of Indians (versus 40% globally) put stability first, while 41 per cent (56% globally) put freedom first. A further 11 per cent did not answer this question. In terms of its ability to report the news accurately and without bias, the Indian media is perceived as freer than that of almost any other nation in the survey.

“Seventy-two per cent of Indians give a high freedom rating, compared with 56 per cent worldwide. Only 10 per cent give a low freedom rating, compared with 19 per cent globally. Indians are more positive about the accuracy and honesty of government or publicly-funded news reporting than any other country surveyed.

“Fifty-seven per cent of Indians give a “good” performance rating to public news organisations, compared with 39 per cent globally. Private, for-profit news organisations are viewed more favourably, with 64 per cent rating their performance “good” (versus 43% globally), although this is slightly less positive than the response in Africa.

“Fifty-seven percent of Indians agree that growing consolidation of private media ownership is a major issue “because you often see owners’ political views emerge in the news”, while only 30 per cent agree with the opposing view that “media owners do not interfere with the news content” (14% did not answer).

“Fifty-five percent think “it is important that people like me have a say in what gets reported in the news”, while 33 per cent think “decisions as to which stories get reported in the news are best left to news organisations”, with a further 12 per cent unable to answer.”

Read the BBC press release here: World Service poll

Infographic: courtesy BBC

Crossposted on sans serif