Survey on Political News Consumption of First-Time Voters
Approximately five million first time voters are eligible for the general elections on November 8. Their votes will clearly have a huge impact on the election results and Myanmar’s future democracy.
Their voting behaviour is likely to be strongly influenced by how and through which media they obtain their political information. This is especially true in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the importance of the media has increased. MID, supported by FNF Myanmar, interviewed 1340 young people in Myanmar, trying to shed a light on their political news consumption. One of the most important findings is that media literacy is in great need of improvement. In a point system established by the MID, the majority achieved less than six out of a total of 15 points.
No one reached the highest category. Especially social media skills and competence should be improved - by far the most important source of news for young people. More than half of the young people read political content on social media platforms rather frequently or frequently.
The main sources are often not official sites of political institutions or news sites, but unofficial sources like chats or interest groups. Only 68 percent of the respondents discussed the role of social media in school or university. It is worrying that approximately one third said they shared content, even if they are not sure whether it is false news.
For about another one third, it is not necessarily important whether news is accurate or not. Only 15 percent take advantage of information services such as fact-checking groups or websites. When people talk about social media in Myanmar, they mostly mean Facebook. Only one percent of respondents do not use Facebook. However, the survey results also indicate that many young people have a wrong understanding of how Facebook works.
For example, almost a third assume that political content in their feed has been checked by Facebook in advance. Nevertheless, the study gives reason for hope: 79 percent of all respondents plan to vote. Around 80 percent are involved in a social movement. Moreover, they certainly feel the need for political information. The study also shows that youth have great interest in quality reporting such as investigative journalism and in topics that are specifically youth oriented. Press Release All this indicates that political education, participation and media competence can be improved easily - if parties and media make interesting offers for young people.
Youth Political News Consumption on Social Media