German Institute for Development Evaluation
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24.03.2020 - New media usage study on global poverty

Bild vom Cover des Berichts, verlinkt mit dem Bericht

DEval has conducted a study investigating how the German public perceives media reporting on global poverty. “Our tasks as a neutral authority on development policy also include regularly reporting on the general public’s attitudes towards global development,” explains Jörg Faust, Director of DEval. The study is the latest publication in DEval’s Opinion Monitor for Development Policy series. Based on a representative survey of over 6,000 individuals, the study investigates for the first time how the general public perceives development policy content in the media. The findings show that trust in the media is quite high overall, but that reporting on global poverty is viewed sceptically by some people.


War, refugees and climate change are the issues most frequently encountered

In the study, which was representative for Germany, 67% of respondents stated that they follow news on international events at least once a day. The central sources most often named were public TV broadcasters, newspapers and radio broadcasts. Social media play an important role, particularly in the case of young adults. Around 60% of the population are aware of reporting on global poverty. War and conflict, flight and migration, and climate change are the issues that are most frequently encountered. In contrast, the general public barely registers reports on development policy initiatives, income inequality, or gender equality.

The general public perceives reporting on global poverty as distorted

Some respondents consider reporting on these issues to be distorted. This is especially the case for climate change, war and conflict, and flight and migration, where 52%, 43% and 38% of respondents think that reporting on the respective issue is too negative. Only one third consider the reporting on global poverty to be balanced.

General trust in media

Despite some respondents considering reporting to be distorted, the general public trusts the media to a large extent, with 36% having a high level of trust and 47% a medium level of trust. Only just over 10% of the general public stated that they have little confidence in the overall media offering.


More neutral reporting and increased media literacy

When asked about possible ways of increasing trust in the media, the public suggest high-quality journalism, and increased transparency in the media with regard to the basis on which reports are composed and where the information comes from. In addition, they would like to see strong independence in the media, with neutral reporting that reflects different standpoints and a diversity of opinion. However, people also mention increasing their own media literacy as a further starting point.

Data basis

In its “Opinion Monitor for Development Policy” series, DEval regularly draws up analyses on the attitude of the German population towards development policy. The latest study is based on a representative survey of 6,014 individuals, performed in 2019 as part of the Development Engagement Lab (DEL) project conducted by the University College London and the University of Birmingham. DEL is financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Scientific Contact

Dr Martin Bruder

Head of Department
Civil Society, Human Rights
Phone: +49 (0)228 336907-970

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