Study finds 3.70 percent misleading news in Nepali media, recommends to invest in capacity building of journalists

Study finds 3.70 percent misleading news in Nepali media, recommends to invest in capacity building of journalists

KATHMANDU: A study titled "Misleading News in Media: A Study of Newspapers and Online News Portals of Nepal" conducted by Media Action Nepal has found a total of 3.70 percent  misleading news in Nepal's national level daily newspapers and online news portals.  It has recommended to invest in capacity building of journalists to understand various dimensions of ethical journalism in order to prevent disinformation and promote media credibility.

The study analyzed a total of 49,051 news stories including 23,291 (47.48 percent) published in 10 daily newspapers and 25,760 (52.32 percent) published in 10 online news portals and found 3.70 percent misleading information on these media outlets.

A total of 1,817 news items contained misleading news, whereas 907 (3.90percent news stories published in 10 daily newspapers were misleading and online news portals published a total of 910 such stories (3.53 percent). Out of the total false and misleading information, 50.09 percent and 49.91 percent were published by online news portals and daily newspapers respectively.

Out of a total of 1,817 misleading news; 1,739 (95.71 percent) are related to the inappropriate sources such news items that misuse the sources, don't disclose the sources, and don't cite the sources when publishing news obtained from other agencies. However, the six media outlets included in the study and two online news portals have not published even a single misleading news related to the source.

The study found a of 36 misleading headlines (1.98 percent). Of the 20 media outlets included in the study, 12 published, and six did not publish such headlines. Similarly, 20 media outlets published a total of 23 (1.27 percent) news items related to disinformation, 11 of them have not published even a single piece of disinformation, while nine media outlets have published at least one and a maximum of six such news items.

Meantime, launching the report on January 26, Randy Berry, U. S. Ambassador to Nepal said that over the last few years, the world has seen disinformation directly affecting lives, health and governments. Highlighting that the U.S. mission is proud to support initiative to promote the freedom of expression and target curbing misinformation, ambassador Berry believed that the study would be helpful for Nepali journalists to disseminate more credible news.

Laxman Datt Pant, Chairperson of Media Action Nepal who led this research said, "The study has been carried out to analyze the trend and nature of misleading information practice by national daily newspapers and news portals." Recommendations are made to the media and journalists on ways preventing false and misleading information to strengthen media credibility, he added.

On the occasion Anna Richey-Allen, Spokesperson at the U. S. Embassy in Nepal said, "Misinformation has enormous consequences and, without checking facts before publishing, journalists risk disseminating falsehood that in turn can harm us and harm our democracies."  The lessons learned through this report and programme will help push us all towards being more informed, she added.

Praising the report findings Dhruba Hari Adhikary, Senior Journalist said, "While Nepal's media today faces a serious problem of credibility in the absence of skills and knowledge, it is good to see watchdogs are being watched by others." 

Based on an analysis of news stories published in national daily newspapers and online news portals in the first three months of the COVID-19 related lockdown that started on 24 March 2020, the news stories have been compared against eight different indicators of preventing false and misleading information. The study was conducted with support from the U. S. Department of State.

Full report in English: http://mediaactionnepal.org/images/publications/misleading-news-in-media.pdf

Full report in Nepali: http://mediaactionnepal.org/images/publications/man-nepali.pdf