The Russians lost confidence in the absence of threats to freedom of expression

Little freedom

For 16 years, during which the country led by Vladimir Putin, the Russians have lost confidence in the fact that the authorities are not threatening freedom of speech, and without prejudice to the activities of Russian media, revealed in may, the Levada center nationwide survey of public opinion. In 2000, confident in the absence of such a threat was 58%, while in 2016 the number of optimists has decreased almost to one third (35%). This is the lowest figure for all time of carrying out of similar polls.

At the same time increased the number of those for whom there is no obvious answer to this question. In may 2016 found it difficult to Express their opinions on freedom of speech 44% of respondents in 2000 could not answer the question of 18%.

The majority of respondents believed that Russian TV channels have censorship: 16% think so definitely, 42% inclined to.

The Russians, according to the survey, there is a constant request for the pluralism of opinions on television and radio. 14% absolutely sure that opinions on television should be given more, 48% rather agree with this approach.

The majority believes that the country needs a channel on which criticise the government and there is no censorship — are convinced that 15% of respondents are inclined to such conclusions — 39%. Russians tend to think that in the future relations of television and does not change the power — a relative majority of 48% respondents, considers that the influence of officials on the channels will remain the same. This will reduce the number of those who expect increasing pressure: in February 2014 the figure was 28%, in may 2016 — 16%.

TV without alternatives

However, the vast majority of Russians consider television the main source of information — 60% of the citizens daily watch news programs. The intensity of viewing far outstrips the intensity of listening to the radio — as the source of information used only 16% of respondents.

The majority of Russians watching the main state channels — “First channel”, channels VGTRK (“Russia 1” “Russia-2”, etc.), as well as NTV, which is included in “Gazprom-media”. 50% of respondents regularly (daily or almost every day) these include TV channels, 26% do so a few times a week, 10% once a week, only 8% are not looking at them at all.

The TV channel “Rain” never watched 87% of respondents. Channel – 77%. The same situation with the consumption of political information to foreign media — 87% of Russians never watched or read the foreign channels or websites, only 4% of respondents doing this at least once a month.

The number of those who choose TV as a source for information, even more than shows the poll by the Levada center, said a member of the presidential Council on human rights, TV presenter Nikolay Svanidze. Many, he said, get their information from the TV, not even realizing it. Moreover, these people can say that television news they are critical, don’t believe them, but actually paint a picture of the world on the basis of the information from the TV, the expert believes. Alternative sources of information — for example, Internet — used for other purposes: primarily for communication, says Svanidze.

About the pressure have not heard

“Levada-center” have also decided to interview the respondents whether they heard about the change of management of the holding. It turned out that I first heard from sociologists about 77%, 16% had heard something, but didn’t go into details, and only 2% was closely watching the situation around . But of those who heard about the resignation of the leadership , a third (33%) believe that it was due to the desire of the authorities to get rid of critics from the part of the holding. The Russians are poorly informed about other scandals that were linked with the pressure on independent TV channels and radio stations. So, 46% of respondents know nothing about the reasons of shutdown two years ago from cable networks channel “Rain”, another 26% were undecided on this question.

Independent media are perceived by Russians as an opposition, and the opposition hostile attitude, explains Svanidze. “And hostility over the past two years that lasts the active phase of confrontation with the West, has become more: it is dispersed primarily uncontested propaganda from the screens of TV,” — emphasizes the broadcaster.

Contradictions in responses from those who believe in censorship on television, and those who believe that the influence of the government in the near future will remain the same, no, the expert believes. The Russians can be confident about the censorship and nothing on this occasion do not experience, I am convinced Svanidze, as they are in General not much concerned about democratic freedoms in General and freedom of speech in particular, because the latter cannot be spread on bread.