Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.31 12 Jun 2019


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Over 60% of Irish news consumers are worried about fake news on the internet, according to this year's Reuters Digital News Report.

More than a quarter of news consumers said they had decided not to share a story in the past year because they doubted its accuracy.

Meanwhile, 22% said they had stopped using certain news sources because they were unsure about the accuracy of their reporting.

The Irish media got the highest rating in the Europe in terms of helping consumers understand the news of the day 11% ahead of the European average.

Fake news

The percentage of Irish people who expressed concern about fake news is up four points on last year and is 10% higher than the European average.

Researcher Eileen Culloty explains why concern over the issue is growing globally.

“The scandals around fake news and Cambridge Analytica seem to have made people more concerned about the quality of the information they are getting online,” she said.

“So we found that while most people trust news media; there is very little trust in the information they find on social media.”

The report finds that radio is still the top source of news in the morning for Irish people.

Some 33% of people in Ireland get their morning news from the radio – however this is down 6 points since 2016, when the question was asked for the first time.

The importance of smartphones has increased significantly in that time – with the number of people who read their news on their phones up 10%.

Facebook remains the top choice for smartphone users at 35% - followed by news websites or apps at 32%.

Irish people also listen to more podcasts than anyone else according to the survey – with 37% of people listening to one in the last month. The EU average was 33%.

BAI Chief Executive Michael O’Keefe said: “The research shows that Irish news consumers are becoming more aware of disinformation, with over 60% expressing a concern about fake news.”

“In addition, the BAI was pleased to note that Irish people are more positive about the value of the news media with 59% agreeing that it helps them understand the news of the day.

“The fact that radio is still the first source of news for Irish people in the morning is heartening.”

Nic Newman Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism said: “Political polarisation has encouraged the growth of partisan agendas online, which together with click-bait and various forms of misinformation is helping to further undermine trust in media – raising new questions about how to deliver balanced and fair reporting in the digital age.”

Internationally the report found that, despite the best efforts of the news industry, there has been only a small increase in the number of people paying for any news online.

In countries with higher levels of payment, the vast majority of people only have one subscription.

In Ireland 12% of people said they have a subscription – up 1% on last year.

Just over half only have one.

Taking online media subscriptions as a whole, 35% said they would choose a video streaming service over a new service, while 13% said they would go for a sports channel.


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