Survey finds few people support views against the government and ‘offensive’ ideas on social media

The Centre for Developing Societies (CSDS) found that not many people agree with the principle that people should be allowed to express their views on social media that are deemed “offensive.”

The survey also found that newspapers and the public broadcaster Doordarshan enjoyed far more trust among the people than private news channels, even though television is the primary news source.

It turns out that most of the survey respondents had conservative or illiberal opinions on social media freedom and expression, according to the survey, which was conducted by the Lokniti program at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Seven thousand four hundred and sixty-three respondents, aged 15 and older, were surveyed in 19 states, both in urban and rural areas. When asked whether a person should have the freedom to express an idea, even if it is offensive, 26 per cent disagreed fully, while 14 per cent disagreed somewhat. Nine per cent of respondents were completely in favour, and fifteen per cent were slightly in popularity.

Similar trends were observed in the responses to the question of whether or not a person should be allowed to express their opinion against the government on social media, regardless of whether it may be offensive or objectionable.

Approximately twenty per cent of all respondents said they disagreed strongly with the idea that there should be complete freedom to express opinions against the government on social media. There is sixteen per cent of respondents disagree somewhat, an equal number agree slightly, and 11 per cent are in complete agreement.

According to the report, “social media users are more likely to oppose than support the idea of the government regulating what can be posted on social media and WhatsApp.”

In terms of media consumption modes, it was revealed in the survey that the gap between the number of consumers of newspapers and TV news channels has “widened further”, with TV “nearly seven times more dominant”.

In contrast, according to the survey, newspapers fare better than news websites, which noted that half of all respondents read newspapers, while two-fifths browse news and current affairs websites.

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