HKU POP SITE releases people's appraisal of local news mediaBack

 
Press Release on April 15, 2008

| Abstract | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (People's Appraisal of the Local News Media) |


Abstract


The Public Opinion Programme (POP) at the University of Hong Kong interviewed 1,011 Hong Kong people between 9 and 11 April by means of a random telephone survey conducted by real interviewers. The survey finds that people are generally satisfied with the degree of freedom enjoyed by our press. Most said our news media have given full play to the freedom of speech, but have also misused press freedom. Opinion is divided on whether the media have been responsible in their news reporting. Regarding self-censorship, nearly half think our media have practiced self-censorship. Over 60% said they have hesitation in criticizing the Central Government, but not so when criticizing the SAR Government. On the other hand, our survey also shows that television and newspapers continue to be people's main sources of news, followed by radio and the internet. Across different news media, people's satisfaction with television as a news media continues to top the list, followed by radio. Their satisfaction with newspapers is just fair, while their appraisal of magazines remains negative. Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of POP, observed, because the percentage of people satisfied with the performance of the news media is significantly lower than that for press freedom, if the public's judgement is correct, the situation may well be that Hong Kong has sufficient press freedom, but not good enough professional ethics for the press. The sampling error of all approval and disapproval rates is below +/-1 to 3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of all rating figures is +/-0.1 mark. The response rate of the survey is 69%.

Points to note:

* The address of the "HKU POP SITE" is http://hkupop.hku.hk, journalists can check out the details of the survey there.
* The sample size of this survey is 1,011 successful interviews, not 1,011 x 68.6% response rate. In the past, many media made this mistake.
* The maximum sampling error of all approval and disapproval rates is below +/-1 to 3 percentage points at 95% confidence level, while the sampling error of all rating figures is +/-0.1 mark. "95% confidence level" means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. When quoting these figures, journalists can state "sampling error of various ratings not more than +/-0.1 mark and sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level".
* When quoting percentages of this survey, journalists should refrain from reporting decimal places, but when quoting the rating figures, one decimal place can be used, in order to match the precision level of the figures.
* The data of this survey is collected by means of random telephone interviews conducted by real interviewers, not by any interactive voice system (IVS). If a research organization uses "computerized random telephone survey" to camouflage its IVS operation, it should be considered unprofessional.


Latest Figures


POP today releases on schedule via the "HKU POP SITE" (http://hkupop.hku.hk) the latest figures of people's appraisal of the local news media. According to our general practice, all figures have been weighted according to the provisional figures obtained from the Census and Statistics Department regarding the gender-age distribution of the Hong Kong population in 2007 year-end. Herewith the contact information for the latest survey:


Date of survey

Sample base

Overall response rate

Sampling error of percentages*

9-11/4/2008

1,011

68.6%

+/-3%

* Calculated at 95% confidence level using full sample size. "95% confidence level" means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. Questions using only sub-samples would have bigger sample error. Sampling errors of ratings are calculated according to the distribution of the scores collected.

Recent figures are summarized as follows:

Date of survey

3-6/10/06

2-10/4/07

2-5/10/07

9-11/4/08

Latest Change

Sample base

1,022

1,009

1,008

1,011

--

Overall response rate

61.3%

60.6%

65.4%

68.6%

--

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

Sampling error of rating (at 95% confidence level)*

+/-0.12

+/-0.10

+/-0.10

+/-0.10

--

Findings/Sampling error*

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Sampling error

--

Credibility rating of the local news media in general

5.60

5.94

5.90

6.11

+/-0.10

+0.21

Freedom of the press in HK: Satisfaction rate**

59%

65%

70%

73%

+/-3%

+3%

Freedom of the press in HK: Dissatisfaction rate**

13%

13%

11%

8%

+/-2%

-3%

Perceived the local news media to be responsible in their reporting**

18%

26%

27%

25%

+/-3%

-2%

Perceived the local news media to be irresponsible in their reporting**

47%

43%

35%

29%

+/-3%

-6%

Perceived that the local news media had given full play to the freedom of speech

73%

74%

71%

74%

+/-3%

+3%

Perceived that the local news media had not given full play to the freedom of speech

21%

22%

23%

20%

+/-3%

-3%

Perceived that the local news media had misused/abused the freedom of press

74%

68%

68%

65%

+/-3%

-3%

Perceived that the local news media had not misused/abused the freedom of press

18%

25%

26%

26%

+/-3%

--

Perceived that the local news media had practised self-censorship

41%

50%

48%

48%

+/-3%

--

Perceived that the local news media had not practised self-censorship

44%

40%

38%

37%

+/-3%

-1%

Perceived that the local news media had scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government

34%

32%

35%

33%

+/-3%

-2%

Perceived that the local news media had no scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government

61%

64%

62%

62%

+/-3%

--

Perceived that the local news media had scruples when criticizing the Central Government

63%

61%

64%

62%

+/-3%

-2%

Perceived that the local news media had no scruples when criticizing the Central Government

31%

33%

31%

31%

+/-3%

--

* "95% confidence level" means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. Media can state "sampling error of various ratings not more than +/-0.10, sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level" when quoting the above figures.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.


Results of latest survey showed that, on a scale of 0-10, the latest credibility rating of the Hong Kong news media in general was 6.11 marks. Moreover, 73% of the respondents were satisfied with the freedom of the press in Hong Kong, 25% perceived the local news media to be responsible in their reporting, 74% believed the local news media had given full play to the freedom of speech, but 65% said they had misused or abused the freedom of press. Besides, 48% of the respondents thought the local news media had practised self-censorship while 37% perceived the contrary, 33% thought they had scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government, whereas 62% thought they had scruples when criticizing the Central Government. The results of other questions such as people's main source of news and their satisfaction on individual news media are shown below:

Date of survey

18-21/4/06

23-27/10/06

8-12/6/07^

9-11/4/08^

Latest change

Sample base

1,015

1,010

1,016

1,011

--

Overall response rate

59.5%

59.9%

69.5%

68.6%

--

Sampling error of percentages (at 95% confidence level)*

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

+/-3%

--

Finding for each question / Sampling error*

Finding

Finding

Finding

Finding

Error

--

People's main source of news: Television^^

82% (35%)

86% (36%)

80% (32%)

81% (33%)

+/-2%

+1%

People's main source of news: Newspaper^^

76% (32%)

72% (30%)

78% (31%)

73% (30%)

+/-3%

-5%

People's main source of news: Radio^^

33% (14%)

33% (14%)

32% (13%)

34% (14%)

+/-3%

+2%

People's main source of news: Internet^^

21% (9%)

25% (10%)

33% (13%)

28% (12%)

+/-3%

-5%

People's main source of news: Magazine^^

10% (4%)

8% (3%)

12% (5%)

9% (4%)

+/-2%

-3%

Perceived that television was the most trustworthy source

55%

57%

52%

58%

+/-3%

+6%

Perceived that newspaper was the most trustworthy source

16%

14%

19%

14%

+/-2%

-5%

Perceived that radio was the most trustworthy source

14%

14%

11%

13%

+/-2%

+2%

Perceived that internet was the most trustworthy source

3%

3%

4%

3%

+/-1%

-1%

Perceived that magazine was the most trustworthy source

<1%

1%

<1%

<1%

+/-1%

--

Satisfaction rate of television**

74%

74%

76%

72%

+/-3%

-4%

Dissatisfaction rate of television**

2%

4%

3%

3%

+/-1%

--

Satisfaction rate of radio**

62%

54%

60%

56%

+/-3%

-4%

Dissatisfaction rate of radio**

4%

5%

6%

5%

+/-1%

-1%

Satisfaction rate of newspaper**

31%

31%

32%

28%

+/-3%

-4%

Dissatisfaction rate of newspaper**

20%

20%

16%

21%

+/-3%

+5%

Satisfaction rate of magazine**

8%

6%

7%

6%

+/-1%

-1%

Dissatisfaction rate of magazine**

42%

46%

44%

47%

+/-3%

+3%

Satisfaction rate of news media in general**

49%

49%

56%

50%

+/-3%

-6%

Dissatisfaction rate of news media in general **

8%

9%

6%

9%

+/-2%

+3%

* "95% confidence level" means that if we were to repeat a certain survey 100 times, using the same questions each time but with different random samples, we would expect 95 times getting a figure within the error margins specified. Media can state "sampling error of percentages not more than +/-3% at 95% confidence level" when quoting the above figures.
** Collapsed from a 5-point scale.
^ In 2007, this survey series was conducted once only. Starting April 2008, the survey cycle is changed to once every six months.
^^ As respondents can choose more than 1 answer, figures in brackets ( ) indicate percentages of total responses, while other figures indicate percentages of total resopndents. Only figures in brackets have been included in the original release.


Results of the survey also showed that, 81% and 73%* of the respondents claimed their main source of news was the television and the newspaper respectively, while 58% thought the news reported by the former channel was the most trustworthy. Regarding people's appraisal of various news channels, 72% of the respondents were satisfied with the television, whereas 56% were satisfied with the radio. Comparatively speaking, people's satisfaction with the printed media was lower, as the respective satisfaction rates of the newspaper and the magazine were 28% and 6% only. All in all, the latest satisfaction rate of the above news media in general was 50%.

* The percentages of respondents who claimed their main source of news was television and newspaper were 33% and 30% respectively in the original release.

Commentary


Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of Public Opinion Programme, observed, "After combining our two different modules of media performance survey, our latest survey shows that people are generally satisfied with the degree of freedom enjoyed by our press. Most said our news media have given full play to the freedom of speech, but have also misused press freedom. Opinion is divided on whether the media have been responsible in their news reporting. Regarding self-censorship, nearly half think our media have practiced self-censorship. Over 60% said they have hesitation in criticizing the Central Government, but not so when criticizing the SAR Government. On the other hand, our survey also shows that television and newspapers continue to be people's main sources of news, followed by radio and the internet. Across different news media, people's satisfaction with television as a news media continues to top the list, followed by radio. Their satisfaction with newspapers is just fair, while their appraisal of magazines remains negative. All in all, half of them are satisfied with the performance of the news media in general, which is significantly lower than their satisfaction with the degree of press freedom. In other words, if the public's judgement is correct, the situation may well be that Hong Kong has sufficient press freedom, but not good enough professional ethics for the press. As for the reasons affecting people's appraisal of the press, readers can make their own judgment after reading the list of events archived in our "Opinion Daily" feature page of our "POP Site"."

News about POP


POP's normal practice is to release the results of our regular surveys every Tuesday afternoon via our POP Site, except during public holidays, each time with a forecast of the items to be released in the next 7 days. According to schedule, our next release of regular survey findings will be April 22, Tuesday, between 1pm and 2 pm, when the latest popularity figures of CE Donald Tsang and the HKSAR Government will be released.

Our general practice is to answer all questions on the research design of the surveys published in the POP Site as soon as we receive them, but we will not further comment on the findings. We welcome questions for follow-up purpose, please email them to us at <[email protected]>. We will keep such an arrangement under constant review, suggestions most welcome. Please note that everything carried in the POP Site does not represent the stand of the University of Hong Kong. Dr Robert Ting-Yiu Chung, Director of POP, is responsible for everything posted herewith, except for column articles which represent the stand of their authors.

Starting from January 2006, we have included in our regular press releases a small educational section for the purpose of general civic education, so that we can share our experience with the general public. The subject of our education section today is "About HKUPOP".

About HKUPOP


People's appraisal of local news media

Since 1993, HKUPOP included people's appraisal of local news media into our tracking surveys as a credibility indicator of the media. The survey has two modules with different sets of questions. The development of the first module was introduced in the press releases dated October 17, 2006, April 17 and October 23, 2007 while that of the second module has been listed in the press releases of November 9, 2006 and June 20, 2007. Today, we post the survey's development again, so that readers can refresh such development.

First Module:

  • Starting from September 1997, our media appraisal surveys were conducted once every month. It was then changed to twice every month in January 1998, until May 2000 when it was changed again to three times every month. From April 2006 to October 2007, its frequency was again changed to once every six months.

  • Our media appraisal survey firstly asks the respondents to rate the credibility of news media using these wordings: "Please use a scale of 0-10 to rate the credibility of local news media, with 10 indicating absolutely credible, 5 indicating half-half and 0 indicating absolutely not credible. How would you rate the local news media?" They are then asked how satisfied they are with the freedom of speech in Hong Kong, whether they think local news media have given full play to the freedom of speech, have misused/abused the freedom of press, have been responsible in their reporting, have practiced self-censorship, and have scruples when criticizing the HKSAR Government and Central Governments.

  • Regarding sample size, from the beginning to March 2000, the sample size of the survey was set at slightly over 500. From May 2000 onwards, it was increased to at least 1,000.
Second Module:

  • In September 1993, our survey series started. The questions mainly focus on different news channels including television, radio, newspaper, magazines and the internet, and the wordings used are "Which of the following channels are your main source of news?", "When there is a conflict of information, which of the following news channels do you trust most?", "Are you satisfied with the performance of XX (respective news channels)?", and "Are you satisfied with the overall performance of the news media?"。 From the beginning to June 1997, surveys were conducted once every two months. It then stopped and replaced by another module of survey, in which the question "Are you satisfied with the performance of newspaper?" was kept in the three surveys of June 1998, September 1998 and September 1999. Later on the module stopped. From October 2000 to October 2006, this module of survey started again and its frequency was changed to once every six months. In June 2007, this module was changed to once every year.

  • Regarding sample size, from the beginning to June 1997, the sample size of the survey was set at slightly over 500, while beginning from October 2000, it was increased to at least 1,000.

Starting from April 2008, we have combined the two modules into one single survey using the same set of questions from both modules. The survey cycle has been changed to once every six months.

All findings have been published regularly on-line at our HKU POP Site since February 2004, while all previous findings published via our newsletter POP Express have also been uploaded in various formats.



| Abstract | Latest Figures | Commentary | News about POP | About HKUPOP |
| Detailed Findings (People's Appraisal of the Local News Media) |