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Survey says Net is major news source
( 2003-08-13 06:47) (China Daily)

The Internet has become the major source of information of Chinese people surveyed by the Horizon Group research company.

Net users surf the internet in an internet cafe in Shanghai. [newsphoto.com.cn]

An Internet-based survey conducted between May and July with 1,151 randomly selected people using the Sohu.com website found that 76.4 per cent said the Internet is their leading source of daily news.

The distant runner-up was television, on 11.8 per cent, while newspapers and magazines only got single-digit percentages.

Nearly 86 per cent of those interviewees were under the age of 35.

They said they believed that online news updates were fast and provide a large volume of information with which no single traditional form of media could compete.

This characteristic also fits in with the fast living and working rhythms of modern society, they said.

The Horizon Group research results follow an investigation by the China Internet Network Information Centre. The centre said in January that its survey indicated that 53.1 per cent of Internet surfers logged onto the Internet for the latest news and information.

Updated news is the most popular Internet feature among Internet surfers, with cultural and entertainment information, lifestyle guides and educational material also popular.

Internet-based news enjoys a relatively high degree of credibility among Internet surfers.

In the survey conducted by the Horizon Group, 24.8 per cent said Internet news is trustworthy, compared to 49.5 per cent for television news, 17.6 per cent for newspapers and only 2.6 per cent for the radio.

Researchers said the investigation's results showed that people's views of the trustworthiness of Internet information overall was not affected by the presence of some entertainment news that is popular but considered less credible.

But the group said the gap between Internet news and TV news showed that a proper supervisory system, like that for the TV industry,must be established to ensure the accuracy of Internet news.

According to the China Internet Network Information Centre, the Chinese mainland had 68 million Internet users as of the end of June, compared to 22.5 million in 2001.

News reports relating to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States and this year's Iraq War helped the Internet develop into an important source of news, the centre said.

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