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Indians give media the thumbs-up

Indians more positive about the accuracy and honesty of government or publicly-funded news reporting.

world Updated: Dec 11, 2007 03:05 IST

Indians are more positive about the accuracy and honesty of government or publicly-funded news reporting than any other country in the world, a recently-conducted poll on press freedom says. Fifty-seven per cent of Indians gave a “good” performance rating to public news organisations in the BBC survey, compared with 39 per cent globally.

Private, profit-oriented news organisations are viewed more favourably, with 64 per cent rating their performance “good” (versus 43 per cent globally), although this is slightly less positive than the response in Africa.

Fifty-seven per cent 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 per cent did not answer).

Fifty-five per cent think “it is important that people like to 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. India is one of only three countries where people who believe stability is more important than press freedom outnumber those who believe freedom is more important.

Forty-eight per cent of Indians (versus 40 per cent globally) put stability first, while 41 per cent (56 per cent globally) put freedom first. 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.

World opinion is divided on the importance of press freedom, according to the poll of 11,344 people across 14 countries. While 56 per cent across all countries think that freedom of the press is very important to ensure a free society, 40 per cent believe that social harmony and peace are more important, even if it means controlling what is reported for the greater good.