Press release №2157
20.03.2019
“FAKE NEWS” LAW: RUSSIAN OPINIONS

IN BRIEF

  • 78% of respondents are aware of the “fake news” law
  • 83% consider that this law is important for our country
  • 57% say that after the law comes into force the number of fake news stories will be reduced

MOSCOW, March 20, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a study describing the Russian opinion on a new “fake news” law.

Russians are split on how to differentiate between reliable and spurious information on the Internet and in mass media: half of respondents (49%) consider they are able to distinguish fake news reliable information; the share of those who think so is higher among young respondents aged 18-24 (65%). They are opposed by 42% of respondents thinking that it is impossible to distinguish reliable information form unreliable.

Seventy-eight percent of Russians are aware of a new law banning dissemination of unreliable information (the so-called law “On fake news”). The majority (83%) believes that Russia needs a law that would allow punishment for the dissemination of unreliable socially important information which may pose a threat to human life, heath, as well as property or disturb public order under the guise of reliable information (89% of the 35-44-year-olds). They are opposed by 13%, mainly the 18-24-year-olds (24%).

More than half of Russians (57%) consider that after the law comes into force the amount of false information on the Internet and in mass media will decrease. A further 29% say that this amount will not change (38% of the 18-24-year-olds). Only 4% of respondents think that the amount of false news will grow.  

VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on March 19, 2019. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

In your opinion, is it possible to distinguish unreliable information from reliable in mass media and on the Internet?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and over
It is almost always possible 7 12 7 6 5 7
In most cases it is possible 42 53 46 43 43 33
In most cases it is impossible 29 25 26 34 30 28
Almost always impossible 13 8 17 9 12 14
Don’t know 9 2 4 8 10 18

 

 

Do you know, did you hear about the law which establishes punishment for spreading unreliable information, known as the “fake news” law, or do you hear for the first time about it? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents
I am well aware 17
I heard something but I do not know any details 61
This is the first time I hear about it 22
 

 

In your opinion, does Russia need a law banning dissemination of unreliable socially important information which may pose a threat to human life, health or disturb public order under the guise of reliable information? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and over
Rather yes 83 71 74 89 85 88
Rather not 13 24 20 10 11 9
Don’t know 4 5 6 1 4 3
 

 

In your opinion, when the law comes into force will the amount of unreliable information on the Internet and in mass media change, or not? If yes, will there be more/less false information? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and over
The amount of false information will stay the same 29 38 35 32 29 21
The amount of false information will lessen 57 55 52 58 58 61
The amount of false information will increase 4 6 4 2 4 5
Don’t know 10 1 9 8 9 13
 

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!

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