Two-thirds of people in Bangladesh have experience of fake news, while 36 percent have no idea of such reports published in online, print, broadcast, or social media, according to a survey.
The survey, carried out by the Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI), found that 76 percent of people have low news literacy while the rest 24 percent have high news literacy.
Titled "News literacy in Bangladesh: National Survey", the survey findings were published at a virtual programme on Monday.
Md Saiful Alam Chowdhury, associate professor of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at the University of Dhaka, presented the survey report.
The survey found that 26 percent of males and 49 percent of females have no fake news experience. Fake news experience rate is high in rural areas (66 percent), followed by urban areas (62.3 percent), while it is the lowest in metropolitan areas (52.5 percent).
News literacy rates do not vary notably based on residence location. Very high literacy rate among females is much higher in metropolitan areas. The ratio of high news literacy rate is comparatively poor in urban areas.
Eighteen percent of respondents have never tried to look at who shared the news, while 30 percent said they had tried to do so sometimes. Almost 17 percent never felt the importance to check the source of the news, and 15 percent never bothered checking what evidence the news story contained.
Half of the people are not aware of the importance to check the accuracy of information. 18 percent do not consume news from any news media.
In the survey, 75 percent said they depended on television for getting news.
Facebook has gained a significant position as a source of news in Bangladesh (9.4 percent), whereas newspaper has been regarded as a main source of news by only 8.4 percent of respondents.
Only 5 percent of respondents said online news portals are their main source of news.
Hasibur Rahman, executive director of MRDI, moderated Monday's programme. Former chief information commissioner Dr Md Golam Rahman was the chief guest.
Golam Rahman said the mainstream news media could be questioned for circulation of fake news because they have accountability for reports they publish.
"But fake news cannot be detected on social media. It is often difficult to detect which one is opinion and which one is news in social media," he said.
Panel discussants at the programme included Dr Sadeka Halim, sociology professor at the University of Dhaka and former information commissioner, Dr Gitiara Nasreen, professor of mass communication and journalist at the University of Dhaka, and Channel i online editor Zahid Newaz Khan.
The survey findings were based on opinions of 1,209 adults in rural and urban areas across the country. Initially, 2,799 people were surveyed. The survey was funded by Unicef.