About the survey
The public opinion survey on media usage and media literacy represents a repeated quantitative survey, with the aim of annually following the tendencies and changes in attitudes and opinions of the citizens of Montenegro when it comes to the critical perception of the media content and media usage.
The survey was conducted on a representative sample, defined as a random three-stage stratified sampling. The sampling evaluation is based on the available data from the 2011 census and evaluations on the population demographic characteristics from 2020. The sample is representative according to socio-demographic criteria – region, settlement type, sex, and age.
The survey was conducted in the period between March 4 and May 5, 2021, in 16 Montenegrin municipalities. It included 16 municipalities and 992 respondents. The survey took approximately 15 minutes to complete and it encompassed six units: media usage, trust in media, information quality, fake news and disinformation, fake news and coronavirus, responsibility, and information control.
The margin of error for the cases with incidence 50% equals +/- 3.23%.
Television is the most used media, and 87.8% of the respondents say that they watch television several times a week or every day.
The second most used media is the Internet, with approximately 65% of the respondents who use online media such as news portals, YouTube, social media, or other types of media available online every day or several times a week
In comparison to the data from the 2020 survey, the usage of radio and the daily press is decreasing. Compared to the last year’s data, 11.5% fewer respondents listen to the radio on a daily basis or several times a week. Around one-third of the respondents read the daily press, which is 11.8% less compared to the 2020 data.
Trust in media
While estimating the level of trust in media where 1 is Don’t trust at all and 5 is Completely trust, most of the respondents stated that they partially trust media. 30.8% of the respondents trust television, with an average grade of 3.02. Compared to the last year’s data, the average grade for trust in television broadcasters is slightly decreasing.
When it comes to trust in particular TV stations, half of the respondents (50.2%) say that they trust TV Vijesti the most, and 45% say that they trust the Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG). As few as 7.9% of the respondents say that they trust other televisions the most, such as Al Jazeera and Al Jazeera Balkans, as well as the local TV stations.
One in five respondents (21.8%) say that they trust the news portals, which represents a growth in comparison to the data from 2020 when the percentage was 14.8. The news portals that the respondents trust the most are the following: the Vijesti news portal (47.8%), CdM (29.9%), and the RTCG news portal (22.6%).
Among the respondents between 18 and 24 years old, one in five citizens (23.6%) say that they trust social media, while that percentage varies between 3.9% and 12.3% among other age categories.
Quality of available information
Of the total sample, 21% of the respondents estimate that the Montenegrin media report objectively and professionally while following the code of ethics. As few as 2.8% of the respondents estimate that media stick to the code completely, while 25.5% think that Montenegrin media follow the code partially. Almost one in four citizens (24.2%) negatively estimates the media reporting regarding professionalism, ethics, and objectivity.
38.8% of the respondents say that the Montenegrin media content often or always ignores particular events or omits key elements of a piece of news. Likewise, 40.9% of the respondents estimate that the media content is often or always different regarding the same event, in comparison to the other media.
23.3% of the respondents say that the media content is often or almost always insulting or discriminating, while 22.8% of the respondents estimate that the media content often or always represents hate speech.
Almost half of the respondents (46.6%) say that the media do not influence their opinion, while 15.1% of the respondents say that the media influence their opinion on current affairs. Also, 39.4% of the respondents estimate that the media influence the change of the course of events.
Fake news and disinformation
Most of the respondents (81.9%) state that they are familiar with the notion of fake news.
As many as 73.2% of respondents estimate that they have noticed fake news in the Montenegrin media at least once. One-third (or 34% of the respondents) say that they notice fake news often or on a daily basis.
One in 4 respondents (or 24.9%) estimates that it is difficult to assess whether the information found in the media is true or false.
If they notice fake news on social media, more than a third of the respondents (36.6%) estimate that they would probably do nothing about it and ignore such a piece of information.
The respondents mostly say that they would react to the notice of fake news by discussing it with their friends and colleagues (32.4%) and family members (26.8%).
Fake news and reporting on coronavirus
Half of the respondents (50.7%) follow the news on the coronavirus epidemic in Montenegro on a daily basis. The majority of respondents (66.2%) estimate that they are mostly or completely informed on the coronavirus epidemic in Montenegro.
66% of the respondents said that they get informed about the coronavirus pandemic in Montenegro on television, while 50% of them does that via news portals. One in five respondents (22.6%) say that they seek information on the official websites of the relevant institutions (Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, and alike).
Almost half of the respondents (47.3%) say that they noticed fake news and disinformation on coronavirus and vaccines on social media (64.9%), news portals (47.9%), and television (31%).
When it comes to the trust in particular Montenegrin televisions in the context of reporting on the coronavirus epidemic, the respondents say that they mostly trust TV Vijesti (50.9%) and RTCG (48.8%).
The respondents have more trust in RTCG and their portal when it comes to the articles on coronavirus than when it comes to the general work of RTCG.
Responsibility and information control
More than one-third of respondents (36.9%) are not aware of the existence of regulatory bodies.
As much as 88.1% state that they have never filed a complaint regarding certain media content. 18.9% of them state that they did not do that because they think it would not be effective, while 19.9% say that they do not know how and to whom they can file it.
Half of the respondents (54.7%) believe that it is necessary that a state always monitors and controls media content online in order to stop disinformation and fake news.