Friday, February 23, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Friday, February 23, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Media skepticism and curiosity make Swedes follow Russian media

Published 21 February 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Around seven percent of Swedes read RT or Sputnik News before the EU censorship of the channels was introduced.

Swedes take part in Russian media such as RT and Sputnik partly because they feel dissatisfied with the established media. Others are mainly curious and want to “keep track” of what different media are writing about.

A new study at the Swedish Defence University has investigated Swedes’ consumption of Russian media and why they use them.

The study, published in the scientific journal International Journal of Press/Politics, interviewed 43 Swedish men and women between 23 March and 13 April 2022 aged 18 and over who said they read Russian media such as RT and Sputnik.

The researchers found that there are a number of reasons for reading Russian media, which they divided into four different groups:

The first group is called “distant observers” and refers to people who do not consider themselves to share the perspective of Russian media, but want to see what the “other side” is reading while considering conventional mainstream media to be the best alternative.

The second group are the ‘reluctant’, who consider themselves sceptical of Russian media but still access it because they believe it reports on things that are not apparent elsewhere.

The third group is called “media nihilists”, who are described as a group who generally think that all media are equally bad and that it is therefore just as well to read both mainstream and alternative media in order to get a good overview.

The last group is the “establishment critics”, who believe that Russian media, among others, generally report better than mainstream media, which they see as substandard and biased representatives of the power establishment at large.

The two largest groups appear to be the media nihilists and the remote observers, who each make up a third of all respondents, while the establishment critics and the reluctant are slightly fewer – around 14% each.

As of February 2022, Russian media is banned in the EU, as well as on platforms such as Google and Facebook. According to a 2022 study completed before the EU censorship and published in Information, Communication & Society, around seven percent of Swedes consumed Russian media at the time.


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