Even in the era of information, around 18 percent Bangladeshis—both urban and rural—do not follow any news media, according to a latest survey.
Around 43 percent of people said they did not have the time to follow news media, while 12.6 percent said it is a waste of time or untrustworthy, the survey found.
According to the national survey styled "News literacy in Bangladesh", only 9.6 percent said they could not afford to access news media. The findings were revealed in a webinar on Monday.
Dhaka University's Associate Professor of journalism Md Saiful Alam conducted the survey, with support from Unicef, as part of Promoting News Literacy and Ethical Journalism Project of Management and Resources Development Initiative.
ResInt Bangladesh, an affiliate of ResInt Canada, conducted field-level work for the survey. A total of 1,209 individuals -- 605 males and 604 females -- were interviewed.
Among the respondents, 799 were from metropolitan cities, 250 from urban and 160 from rural areas.
The survey found that television is the major source of news media: 75 percent respondents said they are dependent on television to stay updated. Facebook is the second most popular news source: 9.4 percent respondents follow the website for news.
The picture is frustrating for the newspaper industry.
Only 8.4 percent said newspapers were their main source of news, and five percent said they follow online news portals.
Radio is the only medium that is not used by most respondents on a typical weekday.
When asked about the duration of news media usage, around 27 percent respondents said they go through news media for more than one hour a day.
According to the survey, only 4.8 percent respondents have high news literacy. They have sound and compound knowledge on content and mechanisms of news media.
The study found that younger people tend to be more news literate than those older.
When asked about cross-checking to verify news authenticity, 18 percent respondents said they have never looked at who shared the news, and around 17 percent never feel it is important to check the news source.
The survey suggested that greater access to information can improve news literacy in the country.
The survey suggested motivating school students to read newspapers, organising debate competitions, and including news literacy in textbooks.