The most misinformation detected by the Portuguese is about politics

Reuters Digital News Report 2024

The type of misinformation most encountered by the Portuguese is about politics, according to the Reuters Digital News Report 2024, released today, which chooses transparency as a criterion for defining trust in the news.

The Reuters Digital News Report 2024 (Reuters DNR 2024) is the 13th annual report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) and the 10th to contain information about Portugal. In 2024, 47 news markets participated, including Portugal.

As a strategic partner, OberCom – Observatório da Comunicação collaborated with RISJ in the design of the questionnaire for Portugal, as well as in the final analysis and interpretation of the data.

“In Portugal, the topic on which respondents say they have found the most misinformation is politics (28%), similar to what also happens globally, and it should be noted that, despite the greater concern about misinformation, the Portuguese declare to a lesser extent than the remaining respondents come across misinformation about any of the topics explored”, reads the study.

Portugal is one of the countries where citizens are most concerned about what is real and fake on the Internet (72%).

“At a global level, across the 47 countries now studied, 59% of the more than 90 respondents say they are concerned about what is real and fake online (three percentage points more than in 2023)”.

In Portugal, “this concern increases with age, education, income and is also greater among those with a declared political orientation”, he adds.

“It should be noted that the proportion of respondents who claim to have come across false or inaccurate information content on any of the topics they were confronted with increased nationally and globally, and is not a phenomenon exclusive” to Portugal, the study states.

“When asked about how easy it is to distinguish between reliable and unreliable news/information on different digital platforms, the Google search engine is seen more positively and X (formerly Twitter) as the platform where it is most difficult to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information”, he points out.

In Portugal, the percentage of respondents saying they trust the news in general decreased by around two percentage points this year (58% to 56%), but “remains among those who say they trust the news they consume (58%)”.

Between 2015 and 2024 “there was a drop of 10 percentage points in trust in news in general and a drop of 13 percentage points in news consumed”, says the study.

“Media transparency is considered by 78% of Portuguese people as 'Very' or 'Somewhat' important for defining their trust in news (79%), followed by the representation of people like themselves fairly (75%), while 74% attribute trust in news to the fact that the news media have high journalistic standards”.

Television continues to be more prevalent among older people and the Internet among younger people, in Portugal.

According to the data, television continues to be the means of social communication for accessing news for 67% of Portuguese people and 53% (two percentage points more compared to 2023) say they have it as their main source of news.

“However, age is a determining factor here, as while only 31% of young people between 18 and 24 years of age use television as their main source of news compared to 68% of Portuguese people aged 65 and over, if When we talk about the Internet, the result is reversed and we have 58% of young people between 18 and 24 claiming to have the internet as their main source of information, while only 21% of respondents over 65 say so”, according to the report.

The survey was carried out in 47 markets: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico , Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Fieldwork was carried out at the end of January/beginning of February.