Cameroon: Internet considered more trustworthy than state or private media
A 2009 study conducted by specialized organizations in monitoring the media finds that Cameroonians trust the Internet over state and private media. If accurate, such results are promising for countries like Cameroon that are experiencing rapid online growth. Of course, the freedom of expression found on the Internet leads to new risks as it can become difficult to discern fact from fiction.
The results: 36% of Cameroonians have total confidence in information coming from Internet. On the contrary, only 16% of respondents trust the information disseminated by state media (radio, TV, newspaper). Private media is deemed more trustworthy than state-run media, but Cameroons still question its veracity more often than they doubt the word of the Internet. Within Cameroon, the survey is being used to push for a new law to guarantee the impartiality of state media. Diversification programs that take into account the aspirations of the Cameroonian population are also in the works.
Ostensibly, these results hold true in other nations, especially those with more notorious censorship than Cameroon (ie. Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Zimbabwe) It goes without saying that the Internet is a powerful and effective tool for self-expression. However, the Internet is not a remedy that can easily cure societal ills. Much of the information online is inaccurate, unfounded, and opinionated. The 36% of Cameroonians with full confidence in the truth of information published on the Internet must realize that a lack of censorship does not mean a lack of authorial ignorance.
Source article: Annie Payep. “Internet, le média le plus crédible des camerounais,” Camer.be, 10 Aug 2011 <http://www.camer.be/index1.php?art=15491&rub=11:1>.