Courtesy: The Reuters Institute

India ranks poorly in Reuters’s Digital News Report 2021

Reuters, on Wednesday, released the 10th edition of its annual digital news report,  “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021.” 

Finland ranked first with overall trust 65 percent while the US has the lowest level of trust 29 percent. The annual report has ranked India 31 out of 46 media markets covered in this report. The report cites that only 38 percent of the respondents trusted news consumed by them. 

The findings were based on a series of opinion polls conducted by YouGov, a UK-based market research and data analytics firm.

Analysing the current trend, Reuters said that consumption of “mainstream news” remained popular in countries with “strong and independent public service media. It further said that printed media across the countries remain in decline due to the ongoing pandemic.

“Much of the media is controlled by large, for-profit corporations, many of them privately held, and mainly funded by advertising. But these business models are being disrupted by a rapid shift to online consumption and the impact of COVID-19. A culture of 24×7 news channels operating on ‘breaking news’ models and polarised debates often distort and sensationalise news. There have been serious problems with misinformation and hate speech. Individual members of the ruling BJP and groups aligned with the party are alleged to systematically spread false and misleading information via social media and other platforms,” the report read.

Also Read: Why has Indian democracy been downgraded? – TheLeaflet

NDTV online was said to be the most preferred digital news site by the respondents followed by Times of India online and BBC online respectively. WhatsApp is the most preferred platform for news-gathering followed by YouTube and Facebook. 

73 percent of the respondents used mobile phones, 37 percent used computers, and the remaining tablets for news consumption. The report at the end says that the Internet penetration in the country is just 54 percent.

The report mentioned in its methodology section that the respondents of the survey were young, affluent, and among the urban population of India. Only English media was considered in this survey. Asian College of Journalism(ACJ), partnered with Reuters in preparing this report.

Also read: “Flawed Democracy”: India Falls to 53rd Position in Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Democracy Index – TheLeaflet

Unexpectedly, The US was listed last in the ranking. The report said that the US media struggled to cover the pandemic, “Black Lives Matter” movement, the violent attack on Capitol Hill, and finally the US Presidential election 2020.

Trump’s defeat in the election resulted in a sharp decline in online traffic. Report said quoted ComScore data to showcase the decline in online traffic of The New York Times and The Washington Post in February 2021. The traffic fell sharply from January’s peak of 17 percent and 26 percent respectively. 

There were many other instances also cited for this downfall. “Notably, The New York Times editorial page editor resigned after staff members outcry over a column by Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton calling to ‘send in the troops’ against protesters. The editors at Variety and Bon Appetit stepped down amid concerns about a lack of newsroom diversity.”

Regarding Finland the report read, “The news media environment in Finland is characterised by a strong regional press, a strong public service broadcaster (Yle), one widely read national daily (Helsingin Sanomat), and two popular evening tabloids, both reaching over half of the adult population. Despite financial pressures, Finnish news media have an above average level of paying for online news.” 

India was ranked for the first time in the report. This poor rating of India in world ranking continues after the Freedom in the World report 2021 and EIU’s Democracy Index 2020. 

The Leaflet