Malaysians are depending on WhatsApp as a source for news
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism conducted a study involving a sample size of 2,108 Malaysians, and discovered that more than half of the respondents (51 percent) said that they were relying on WhatsApp as a source for news.
The study provided several reasons for this. The first, as you would expect, is due to WhatsApp being a free service. Also, considering that most Malaysian mobile telecommunication providers are happily giving their subscribers ample amounts of mobile data for a nominal price, it’s hardly any wonder why the service has become a popular option for sharing and disseminating news.
Then there’s the fact that WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption, which ensures that messages can only be read by the sender and its intended recipient(s) – much to the disdain of certain government authorities.
Not making matters any better is the fact that only 29 percent of respondents said that they trust the local media, while an even lower 16 percent believed that the Malaysian media is free from political influence, thus leading to an increase in Malaysians turning to social media for news.
“The Malaysian public has trust issues with local media. State/regime ownership and control of much of these media, coupled with their constant manufacturing of falsehoods and crude regime propaganda, are the main reasons for this distrust. Many subsequently turn to social media for news,” the report read.
You can check out the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017 in full by clicking here.