Media Council: Social media the biggest misinformer

You are more likely to interact with fake news while listening to the radio than watching TV and reading a newspaper combined, a new report says.

The Media Council of Kenya annual Status of the Media Report released today puts Social media (36 per cent) and radio (28 per cent) as the platforms often used to misreport issues.

Television, the Internet and newspapers follow at 20, 9 and 7 per cent respectively.

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MCK, a statutory entity that regulates the media, singled out Radio for airing adverts for land that in some cases never existed, discussing witchcraft, airing lewd and sex-motivated discussions and religious Ads that gave false hope.

Coming ahead of the World Press Freedom Day to be marked tomorrow, the report also notes Kenya’s drop in the World Press Freedom Index.

“Kenya is ranked 100 out of 180 countries listed in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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That ranking was a drop on the previous year (RSF, 2018) dropping four places from 96,” the report says.

MCK says the undone gains were as a result of ‘the media being routinely subjected to attacks by security forces, the public and threats as well as intimidation from politicians and their supporters’.

It added that journalists were being harassed or their equipment confiscated or destroyed.

On media consumption trends over the past year, the report said a majority of Kenyans at 20 per cent and mostly from rural areas, spent three to four hours listening to the radio.

It notes that 16 per cent of Kenyans do not listen to Radio at all.

News is still the most watched TV program with five in every 10 Kenyan saying they done so in the preceding week of the survey.

“This illustrates Kenyans’ general interest in current affairs and their need to constantly stay informed,” MCK said.

Soaps were the second most preferred at 15 per cent and sport capping the top three at 12 per cent.

“The use of social media for news is catching up and fast, after years of continuous growth owing to relatively low cost of internet-enabled phones, competitive data bundle plans offered by the three mobile phone service providers and increasing popularity of Social Media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn,” the report added.

Of the Social Media platforms used to receive news by the surveyed respondents, Facebook and WhatsApp were noted to be the most prominent.

The Survey was conducted by Infotrak Research and Consulting on behalf of the Media Council of Kenya (MCK) in the third week of April 2019.

It says 2518 respondents from 47 counties were interviewed through Computer Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI).

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Media Council of KenyaWorld Press Freedom DayFake NewsHillary Orinde