POP releases people’s appraisal of news media

Press Release on October 20, 2020

POP releases people’s appraisal of news media

Special Announcement

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.

Abstract

POP successfully interviewed 1,006 Hong Kong residents by random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers from late September to early October. Latest results show that among various types of news media, the internet and television remain to be people’s main sources of news. The percentage of people using newspapers as their main source of news has registered an all-time low since record began in 2000, while that of radio has dramatically decreased. Net satisfaction with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong stands at negative 25 percentage points, registering another all-time low since record began in 1997, while the net value of people perceiving the local news media to be responsible in their reporting stands at negative 16 percentage points, representing a record low since 2007. On a scale of 0-10, the credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media drops significantly by 0.34 marks to 5.14, registering an all-time low since record began in 1997. The effective response rate of the survey is 57.9%. The maximum sampling error of percentages is +/-3%, that of net values is +/-6% and that of ratings is +/-0.13 at 95% confidence level.

Contact Information

Date of survey : 25/9-8/10/2020
Survey method : Random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers
Target population : Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above
Sample size[1] : 1,006 (including 501 landline and 505 mobile samples)
Effective response rate : 57.9%
Sampling error[2] : Sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3%, that of net values not more than +/-6% and that of ratings not more than +/-0.13 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 2019”, while the educational attainment (highest level attended) distribution and economic activity status distribution came from “Women and Men in Hong Kong – Key Statistics (2019 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]     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 20-22/8/18 21-24/1/19 15-20/8/19 2-3/3/20 25/9-8/10/20 Latest change
Sample size[3] 544-593 541-564 548-683 503 1,006
Response rate 53.0% 59.0% 68.5% 64.0% 57.9%
Latest findings Finding Finding Finding Finding Finding & error
People’s main source of news:    
Internet 63% 69%[5] 74% 76% 70+/-3% -6%[5]
Television 70% 65% 66% 68% 66+/-3% -2%
Newspapers 47% 52% 42%[5] 38% 37+/-3% -1%
Radio 30% 30% 37%[5] 40% 27+/-3% -12%[5]
Friends 18% 18% 28%[5] 27% 18+/-2% -9%[5]
Most trustworthy source of news:    
Television 33% 25%[5] 29% 29+/-3% -1%
Internet 14% 31%[5] 29% 28+/-3% -1%
Newspapers 16% 9%[5] 10% 12+/-2% +2%
Radio 17% 14% 17% 9+/-2% -8%[5]
Family members 4% 5% 4% 4+/-1%
Satisfaction rate of
freedom of the press in HK[4]
52% 51% 33%[5] 29+/-3% -4%
Dissatisfaction rate of
freedom of the press in HK[4]
30%[5] [6] 33% 54%[5] 54+/-3%
Net satisfaction rate 22% 18% -21%[5] -25+/-6% -4%
Mean value[4] 3.2 3.2 2.6[5] 2.5+/-0.1 -0.1
Perceived that the local news media:    
Were responsible in their reporting[4] 29% 40%[5] 28%[5] 19+/-2% -8%[5]
Were irresponsible in their reporting[4] 39% 30%[5] 36%[5] 35+/-3% -1%
Net value -9% 10%[5] -8%[5] -16+/-5% -8%
Mean value[4] 2.8 3.1[5] 2.8[5] 2.7+/-0.1 -0.1
Had practiced self-censorship 56% 59% 56% 50+/-3% -5%[5]
Had not practiced self-censorship 29% 29% 33% 30+/-3% -3%
Net value 27% 31% 23% 20+/-6% -3%
Credibility rating of the local news media (0-10) 5.89[5] [6] 5.77 5.81 5.49[5] 5.14+/-0.13 -0.34[5]

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

[4]     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.

[5]     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.

[6]     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 70% and 66% of the respondents claimed their main sources of news were the internet and television respectively, while 37% said it was newspapers, registering an all-time low since record began in 2000. Besides, only 27% said their main source of news was radio, registering a big drop of 12 percentage points since March. As for trustworthiness, 29% and 28% of the respondents respectively found television and the internet to be the most trustworthy source of news, while 12% and 9% said it was newspapers and radio respectively, the latter registering a big drop of 8 percentage points and a record low since 1997.

Results also showed that 29% of the respondents were satisfied with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong while 54% were dissatisfied, giving a net satisfaction of negative 25 percentage points. The mean value is 2.5, meaning between “half-half” and “quite dissatisfied” in general. All these figures are again at their worst since record began in 1997. Meanwhile, 19% perceived the local news media to be responsible in their reporting, 35% regarded the local news media as irresponsible, giving a net value of negative 16 percentage points, a record low since 2007. The mean value is 2.7, meaning between “half-half” and “quite irresponsible” in general. Besides, 50% of the respondents thought the local news media had practiced self-censorship while 30% perceived the contrary, giving a net value of positive 20 percentage points. On a scale of 0-10, the credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media drops significantly by 0.34 marks to 5.14, registering an all-time low since record began in 1997.

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 2 to 3 March, 2020 while this survey was conducted from 25 September to 8 October, 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.

8/10/20 Hong Kong confirms 14 local infections with coronavirus disease.
7/10/20 Hong Kong confirms 9 local infections with coronavirus disease.
6/10/20 The Education Bureau deregisters a primary school teacher for professional misconduct.
1/10/20 Police arrests at least 86 protesters in various districts including Causeway Bay.
29/9/20 Democrats announce survey results on whether Legislative Councillors should stay or go.
23/9/20 The government announces that Hong Kong Disneyland’s option to purchase a potential 60-hectare expansion site will not be extended.
22/9/20 Police changes the definition of “media representatives” under the Police General Orders.
15/9/20 The government explains the costs and benefits of the Universal Community Testing Programme.
14/9/20 The Universal Community Testing Programme ends with 1.78 million people participated and 32 new cases found.
12/9/20 Twelve Hong Kong youngsters have been detained in Shenzhen for over two weeks. Their family members hold a press conference.
11/9/20 The jury in the Coroner’s Court returns an open verdict in the death of Chan Yin-lam.
10/9/20 Police arrests 15 people on suspicion of defrauding and money laundering by trading Next Digital shares.
8/9/20 The government further relaxes anti-epidemic measures.
2/9/20 The government relaxes anti-epidemic measures.
1/9/20 About 126,000 people have taken the test on the first day of the Universal Community Testing Programme.
10/8/20 Police searches Next Media and arrests Jimmy Lai, Agnes Chow and other people under national security law.
15/5/20 Independent Police Complaints Council releases a report saying there is no evidence of casualties in the Prince Edward MTR incident on August 31.
18/4/20 15 pan-democrats including Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai are arrested.

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. The percentage of people using newspapers as their main source of news has registered an all-time low since record began in 2000, while that of radio has dramatically decreased.

Net satisfaction with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong stands at negative 25 percentage points, registering another all-time low since record began in 1997, while the net value of people perceiving the local news media to be responsible in their reporting stands at negative 16 percentage points, representing a record low since 2007. On a scale of 0-10, the credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media drops significantly by 0.34 marks to 5.14, registering an all-time low since record began in 1997.

Detailed Findings

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