Are RT messages a good source of information?

New territory? What news can I trust?

A surprising number of people in Germany seem to fail because of this question, as a current study on news literacy shows. The “New Responsibility Foundation” surveyed over four thousand people in Germany and was supported by, among others, the Federal Cultural Commissioner, Monika Grütters, and the Federal Agency for Civic Education. So the study does not come directly from the scientific community, but its results are valid, representative and just as alarming. A good half of the study participants believe that news about ministers should be "approved". A surprising number of people also consider RT Deutsch to be a neutral source - what a contrast!

Indeed "new territory"

The study comes to the result that almost half of all participants have little or very little knowledge of news - the aim is to recognize disinformation and differentiate advertising from news, among other things. This is shocking on the one hand, but not surprising on the other.

This is also due to the way and where we get information. Less than thirty years ago, the number of sources of information was manageable and well known: there were newspapers, television and radio.

These media - like users - have migrated to the Internet themselves, where they meet social media, short message services, etc. It is not so surprising that younger people find their way there better than older people. For many, the Internet is actually "new territory".

At der-newstest.de, you can also do the test yourself from the study and check your own news skills. The study comes from the “New Responsibility Foundation” - a trustworthy source, but not from the scientific community.

An expected result

The age differences only partially explain the study results. An important factor: the lower the education, the worse the participants do in the test in the study. That too is hardly surprising, because there are hardly any educational offers in this direction.

Education policy fails miserably to bring such content into schools. Even among teaching staff, there seem to be some significant gaps. The focus is often only on making devices available at all, and politics even fails because of this.

A lack of news literacy has consequences

It's not just because of Corona that we spend more and more time in front of screens, but many people are not prepared for that. In the past, most people did not come into contact with Russian propaganda or right-wing extremist content - today it is just a few clicks away.

For many, this content is not immediately recognizable as such on the Internet. It is therefore not surprising that so-called “alternative media” reach a relatively large number of people. Other studies also show that those who are susceptible to this content are also more likely to favor the AfD.

At this point it becomes very clear: If not enough is invested in education, then it has noticeable consequences.