Half of Latvian population says public media promote critical thinking

This year, a larger share of the public than last year thinks that Latvian public service media – Latvian Television, Latvian Radio, and LSM.lv – strengthen the sense of belonging to Latvia, promote interest in current events and encourage critical thinking, according to the results of the latest study by Latvian public media and Norstat Latvia published on July 6.

In the survey conducted in April this year, more residents than previously indicated that public media strengthen the sense of belonging to Latvia. Compared to 2022, this rate increased by 6%, reaching 53%. About one in four respondents (26%) expressed neutral attitude, but 14% did not agree. 7% of those surveyed abstained from expressing their views.

Minority residents also indicated that Latvian public media strengthen their sense of belonging to Latvia. 34% agreed to the statement last year, and 41% of the surveyed minority representatives agreed this year. Neutral attitude was expressed by 21% this year, but 26% of respondents disagreed.

There has also been an increase in the number of public media users who have indicated that public media motivate critical thinking and evaluation of what is happening around them. This number has increased from 43% to 50%.

51% of the population have indicated that public media also help to understand other people and their views on life. In the minority audience, the figure was 43%.

55% of those surveyed, compared with 48% last year, indicated that that public media news and current information broadcasts strengthen their interest in what is happening in Latvia. On the other hand, 48% expressed that public media helped to understand the reasons for decisions taken in the country. Only 17% of those surveyed think public media doesn't do this, while 29% have expressed neutral attitude.

The public assessment of the statement that public media represent all public interests has also grown, 44% agreeing to the statement, 28% expressing neutral view, while 21% not agreeing with it.

57% of public media users believe that the content reflects different views, which differ from the respondent's own viewpoint. 

"Versatile and high-quality content is and will be the basis for the willingness of Latvian citizens to use public media. Therefore, the development and presence of content on various digital platforms should be a top priority in the future," said member of the public media council (SEPLP) Jānis Eglītis. 

Addressing new public media users requires thematically more diverse and high-quality content with entertainment elements, said Andris Saulītis, lead researcher of the University of Latvia's Institute of Philosophy and Sociology.

The public benefit survey was conducted in cooperation with Norstat Latvia online from April to June this year, with 3,614 respondents.

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