POP releases People’s Appraisal of the Local News Media (2020-03-17)

 Press Release on March 17, 2020

POP releases People’s Appraisal of the Local News Media

Special Announcements

  1. The predecessor of Hong Kong Public Opinion Program (HKPOP) was The Public Opinion Programme at The University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP). “POP” in this release can refer to HKPOP or its predecessor HKUPOP.
  2. The survey on people’s appraisal of news media released today by POP is the last of its kind before July 1, 2020. Whether it will be continued or not will depend on public support.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 503 Hong Kong residents by a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers in early March. Latest results show that among various types of news media, the internet and television remain to be people’s main sources of news. Among them, the percentage of people using internet as their main source of news has registered an all-time high since record began in 2000, that of radio has also registered a new high since record began in 1993, while that of newspaper is an all-time low since record began in 1993. People’s satisfaction with the performance of news media in general has receded from the high level registered in August last year. The latest net satisfaction is positive 27 percentage points, representing a drop of 13 percentage points. Net satisfaction toward both radio and television have registered historical lows since record began in 1993. Latest net satisfaction with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong has dropped dramatically by 39 percentage points to negative 21, registering an all-time low since record began in 1997. Meanwhile, the net value of people perceiving the local news media to be responsible in their reporting has dropped sharply by 19 percentage points from the high figure registered in August last year to negative 8, while the net value of people believing the local news media to have given full play to the freedom of speech has also fallen sharply by 16 percentage points to positive 9. On a scale of 0-10, the credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media drops significantly by 0.33 mark to 5.49, which is a new low since 2002. The effective response rate of the survey is 64.0%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-4%, that of net values is +/-9% and that of ratings is +/-0.18 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 2-3/3/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 503 (including 257 landline and 246 mobile samples)
Effective response rate[2] : 64.0%
Sampling error[3] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-4%, that of net values not more than +/-9% and that of ratings not more than +/-0.18 at 95% conf. level
Weighting method : Rim-weighted according to figures provided by the Census and Statistics Department. The gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population came from “Mid-year population for 2018”, while the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution and economic activity status distribution came from “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2018 Edition)”.

[1]     This figure is the total sample size of the survey. Some questions may only involve a subsample, the size of which can be found in the tables below.

[2]     Before September 2017, “overall response rate” was used to report surveys’ contact information. Starting from September 2017, “effective response rate” was used. In July 2018, POP further revised the calculation of effective response rate. Thus, the response rates before and after the change cannot be directly compared.

[3]     All error figures in this release are calculated at 95% confidence level. “95% confidence level” means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times with different random samples, we would expect 95 times having the population parameter within the respective error margins calculated. Because of sampling errors, when quoting percentages, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, whereas one decimal place can be used when quoting rating figures.

Latest Figures

Latest results of the news media survey are tabulated as follows:

Date of survey 2-4/4/18 20-22/8/18 21-24/1/19 15-20/8/19 2-3/3/20 Latest change
Sample size[4] 549-706 544-593 541-564 548-683 503
Response rate 57.9% 53.0% 59.0% 68.5% 64.0%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
People’s main source of news:    
Internet 67%[6] 63% 69%[6] 74% 76+/-4% +3%
Television 74%[6] 70% 65% 66% 68+/-4% +2%
Radio 29% 30% 30% 37%[6] 40+/-4% +3%
Newspapers 48%[6] 47% 52% 42%[6] 38+/-4% -5%
Friends 19% 18% 18% 28%[6] 27+/-4% -1%
Most trustworthy source of news:    
Television 32%[6] 33% 25%[6] 29+/-4% +4%
Internet 17% 14% 31%[6] 29+/-4% -2%
Radio 17% 17% 14% 17+/-3% +2%
Newspapers 14% 16% 9%[6] 10+/-3% +1%
Family members 6% 4% 5% 4+/-2% -1%
Satisfaction rate of radio[5] 61%[6] 56% 59% 52+/-4% -7%[6]
Dissatisfaction rate of radio[5] 13% 15% 15% 17+/-3% +2%
Net satisfaction rate 48%[6] 42% 44% 35+/-7% -9%
Mean value[5] 3.6 3.5 3.6 3.5+/-0.1 -0.1
Satisfaction rate of Internet[5] 43% 45% 55%[6] 47+/-4% -8%[6]
Dissatisfaction rate of Internet[5] 21% 21% 16%[6] 14+/-3% -1%
Net satisfaction rate 22% 23% 39%[6] 33+/-6% -6%
Mean value[5] 3.3 3.3 3.6[6] 3.5+/-0.1 -0.1
Satisfaction rate of television[5] 52% 54% 42%[6] 36+/-4% -7%[6]
Dissatisfaction rate of television[5] 24% 24% 30%[6] 31+/-4% +2%
Net satisfaction rate 28% 30% 13%[6] 5+/-7% -8%
Mean value[5] 3.3 3.3 3.1[6] 2.9+/-0.1 -0.2[6]
Satisfaction rate of newspapers[5] 39% 44% 31%[6] 28+/-4% -3%
Dissatisfaction rate of newspapers[5] 30% 24%[6] 31%[6] 28+/-4% -3%
Net satisfaction rate 9% 19%[6] 0%[6] 0+/-7%
Mean value[5] 3.0 3.2[6] 2.9[6] 3.0+/-0.1
Satisfaction rate of magazines[5] 19%[6] 15% 14% 10+/-3% -5%[6]
Dissatisfaction rate of magazines[5] 45% 41% 34%[6] 36+/-4% +1%
Net satisfaction rate -26% -26% -20% -26+/-6% -6%
Mean value[5] 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.4+/-0.1 -0.1
Satisfaction rate of
news media in general[5]
50% 49% 38%[6] 57%[6] 45+/-4% -12%[6]
Dissatisfaction rate of
news media in general[5]
20% 17% 20% 17% 19+/-3% +1%
Net satisfaction rate 30% 32% 18%[6] 40%[6] 27+/-7% -13%[6]
Mean value[5] 3.3 3.3 3.2[6] 3.4[6] 3.3+/-0.1 -0.2[6]
Satisfaction rate of
freedom of the press in HK[5]
48% 52% 51% 33+/-4% -18%[6]
Dissatisfaction rate of
freedom of the press in HK[5]
36% 30%[6] [7] 33% 54+/-4% +21%[6]
Net satisfaction rate 12% 22% 18% -21+/-8% -39%[6]
Mean value[5] 3.1 3.2 3.2 2.6+/-0.1 -0.6[6]
Perceived that the local news media:    
Were responsible in their reporting[5] 25%[6] 29% 40%[6] 28+/-4% -12%[6]
Were irresponsible in their reporting[5] 40% 39% 30%[6] 36+/-4% +6%[6]
Net value -15% -9% 10%[6] -8+/-7% -19%[6]
Mean value[5] 2.8 2.8 3.1[6] 2.8+/-0.1 -0.3[6]
Had scruples when criticizing
the Central Government
69% 64% 60% 63+/-4% +3%
Had no scruples when criticizing
the Central Government
24% 25% 32%[6] 29+/-4% -3%
Net value 45% 39% 29%[6] 34+/-8% +6%
Had scruples when criticizing
the HKSAR Government
53% 50% 42%[6] 49+/-4% +7%[6]
Had no scruples when criticizing
the HKSAR Government
42% 44% 49% 45+/-4% -4%
Net value 12% 7% -7%[6] 4+/-9% +11%
Had practiced self-censorship 56% 56% 59% 56+/-4% -4%
Had not practiced self-censorship 30% 29% 29% 33+/-4% +4%
Net value 26% 27% 31% 23+/-8% -8%
Had given full play to
the freedom of speech
47%[6] 53% 58% 50+/-4% -8%[6]
Had not given full play to
the freedom of speech
44% 39%[6] [7] 34% 41+/-4% +8%[6]
Net value 3% 14%[6] 24% 9+/-9% -16%[6]
Had misused/ abused
the freedom of press
58% 52%[6] 46%[6] 48+/-4% +3%
Had not misused/ abused
the freedom of press
32% 38%[6] 43% 41+/-4% -2%
Net value 27% 14%[6] 3%[6] 8+/-8% +4%
Credibility rating of the local news media (0-10) 5.67 5.89[6] [7] 5.77 5.81 5.49+/-0.18 -0.33[6]

[4]     Before March 2020, weighted count was used to report subsample size. Starting from March 2020, raw count was used instead.

[5]     Collapsed from a 5-point scale. The mean value is calculated by quantifying all individual responses into 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 marks according to their degree of positive level, where 1 is the lowest and 5 the highest, and then calculate the sample mean.

[6]     The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level, meaning that the change is statistically significant prima facie. However, whether the difference is statistically significant is not the same as whether they are practically useful or meaningful, and different weighting methods could have been applied in different surveys.

[7]     The difference between the figure and the result from the previous survey has gone beyond the sampling error at 95% confidence level because of a change in the weighting method. If the previous weighting method was used, the difference would not have gone beyond the sampling error.

Results of the news media survey showed that 76% and 68% of the respondents claimed their main sources of news were internet and television respectively. The former registers again an all-time high since record began in 2000. Besides, 40% and 38% respectively said their main sources of news were radio and newspapers. The former is an all-time high since record began in 1993, while the latter is an all-time low since record began in 1993. As for trustworthiness, 29% each of the respondents found television and internet to be the most trustworthy source of news. The figures above have not changed much compared to August last year.

As for people’s appraisal of the performance of various types of news media, the satisfaction rates of radio, internet, television, newspapers and magazines as news media are 52%, 47%, 36%, 28% and 10% respectively, while net satisfactions are positive 35, positive 33, positive 5, zero and negative 26 percentage points respectively. Net satisfaction toward both radio and television have registered historical lows since record began in 1993. Overall speaking, people’s satisfaction with the performance of news media in general has fallen back sharply from the relatively high figure registered last time. The latest satisfaction rate is 45%, net satisfaction at positive 27 percentage points, and the mean value is 3.3, meaning between “half-half” and “quite satisfied” in general.

Results also showed that 33% of the respondents were satisfied with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong while 54% were dissatisfied, net satisfaction dropping dramatically by 39 percentage points to negative 21. The mean value is 2.6, meaning between “half-half” and “quite dissatisfied” in general. All these figures are at their worst since record began in 1997. Meanwhile, 28% perceived the local news media to be responsible in their reporting, 36% regarded the local news media as irresponsible, giving a net value of negative 8 percentage points, a big drop of 19 percentage points from the relatively high figure registered last time. The mean value is 2.8, meaning close to “half-half” in general. Besides, 63% thought the local news media had scruples when criticizing the Central Government, with a net value of positive 34 percentage points. 49% thought they had scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government, net value at positive 4 percentage points. 56% of the respondents thought the local news media had practiced self-censorship while 33% perceived the contrary, giving a net value of positive 23 percentage points. 50% believed the local news media had given full play to the freedom of speech, net value falling back sharply by 16 percentage points to positive 9, but at the same time 48% said they had misused or abused the freedom of press, net value at positive 8 percentage points. In addition, on a scale of 0-10, the credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media drops significantly by 0.33 marks to 5.49, registering a record low since 2002.

Opinion Daily

In 2007, POP started collaborating with Wisers Information Limited whereby Wisers supplies to POP a record of significant events of that day according to the research method designed by POP. These daily entries would then become “Opinion Daily” after they are verified by POP.

For the polling items covered in this press release, the previous survey was conducted from 15 to 20 August, 2019 while this survey was conducted from 2 to 3 March, 2020. During this period, herewith the significant events selected from counting newspaper headlines and commentaries on a daily basis and covered by at least 25% of the local newspaper articles. Readers can make their own judgment if these significant events have any impacts to different polling figures.

3/3/20 Wuhan pneumonia outbreak continues.
28/2/20 Police arrests Jimmy Lai, Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum.
19/1/20 Rally at Central turns into a conflict between protestors and the police.
1/1/20 The Civil Human Rights Front organizes the New Year Rally.
28/10/19 Journalists protest against police violence targeting journalists during police press conference.
25/10/19 The High Court grants an interim injunction to restrain unlawful publishing of the personal data of police officers and their family members.
4/10/19 The government officially enacts anti-mask law by invoking emergency law.
10/9/19 MTR releases screenshots of 8.31 CCTV footage.

Data Analysis

The latest survey shows that among various types of news media, the internet and television remain to be people’s main sources of news. Among them, the percentage of people using internet as their main source of news has registered an all-time high since record began in 2000, that of radio has also registered a new high since record began in 1993, while that of newspaper is an all-time low since record began in 1993.

People’s satisfaction with the performance of news media in general has receded from the high level registered in August last year. The latest net satisfaction is positive 27 percentage points, representing a drop of 13 percentage points. Net satisfaction toward both radio and television have registered historical lows since record began in 1993.

Latest net satisfaction with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong has dropped dramatically by 39 percentage points to negative 21, registering an all-time low since record began in 1997. Meanwhile, the net value of people perceiving the local news media to be responsible in their reporting has dropped sharply by 19 percentage points from the high figure registered in August last year to negative 8, while the net value of people believing the local news media to have given full play to the freedom of speech has also fallen sharply by 16 percentage points to positive 9. On a scale of 0-10, the credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media drops significantly by 0.33 mark to 5.49, which is a new low since 2002.

Detailed Findings

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