They Say Checking Is Important, But They Rarely Check

Nune Hakhverdyan

Art critic, journalist

The Media Consumption in Armenia survey, conducted by CRRC and MIC, attempted to find out through questionnaires how people verify the reliability of a media product. And how do they justify their own behavior in the media field?

The elements of media literacy included in the study allow people to conclude that fact-checking and media information is important, but by and large, respondents rarely take the few extra steps to check what they consume.

1200 people living throughout Armenia were asked the question, “In what cases is the information considered suspicious/unreliable?” In addition, respondents were able to give up to three answers:

22% said it was suspicious if the information was very unlikely, 19% if the title and content were inconsistent, 17% if they heard it from an unknown person or site, 15% if the source is not listed, 10% if it is shared by untrustworthy people or websites.

The first condition of trusting the platform or person is to be familiar. You trust or not depending on if you know them. 

The question “How do you check suspicious information” was an open-ended question. That is to say, people were not offered answers, they themselves formulated verification mechanisms.

32% of those surveyed search the Internet to check out suspicious information. 26% look for the same information on websites they trust. 23% asked acquaintances and friends, and 16% asked for information from the source. 3% of the respondents write a post on social networks.

Respondents in their answers, although indicating the need for at least double-checking, described their own behavior on the network and acknowledged that they did not always go through the chain of links.

From this graph it can be seen that only 6% of readers click on the source link provided in the article, 25% never do.

And 34% say they never check information by going to other pages.

The responses, which characterize trust in the various media, also show that people value what they are familiar with.

The question “How reliable is the information provided by the following sources” with clear versions of the answers indicates that the answers “very reliable” and “generally not reliable” are few.

Most people are hesitant and give average answers.

While studying this chart, it becomes clear that Russian media continues to be a serious information resource in Armenia. And many republican radio broadcasters are perceived as a reliable source.

Respondents, when describing a media literate person, first mentioned the technical capability of using the internet (18.7%).

Then, the ability to analyze the material’s perception (14.2%), the ability to understand the purpose of the material (11.5%).

People also consider media literacy a requirement to open social network accounts/pages and also make money through the media.

Nune Hakhverdyan

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