The Asia Foundation’s 2019 survey, released on Tuesday, in a section titled “Access to Information and Media” reported a continuing “downward trend” for radio use, but the survey indicated that 65.9% of respondents in 2019 watch television as a source of news and information--an 11.2 percentage point increase since 2013.
86.7% of respondents identify family and friends as a source of news and information, the report said, which topped the list.
14.4% of Afghans surveyed use the internet as a source of news and information, and approximately 17.6% of the Afghan population uses the internet at all, which is “a sixteenfold increase over the 1.1% who were internet users in 2006,” according to the report.
“For the first time, the survey asked internet users to describe their online activities,” according to the Asian Foundation
“Among the 29.7% of respondents who personally have access to the internet, the most common activities include Facebook and other social media (70.6%) and keeping up with the news (41.1%),” the report found.
Remarkably, when survey respondents were asked about what would be important to protect if there was an agreement with the Taliban that involved compromises, 80.1% said freedom of speech and 79 % said freedom of the press would be either “most important” or “somewhat important.”
The survey report offered some correlations to provide insight into what kinds of people, in what areas, with what kinds of opinions, use what kinds of media:
The survey shows that those who use the internet as a source of news and information are slightly more likely to fear for their personal safety (78.2%) than those who use radio (75.8%) or television (74.0%).
Those who use radio as their main source of news and information are more likely to feel sympathy for the Taliban (16.5%) than those who use television as their primary source (Taliban 11.5%).
Those who use the internet as a source of news and information are more willing to leave Afghanistan if given the opportunity (46.4%) than those who watch television (40.7%) or listen to radio (36.0%).
Getting news and information from television and the internet is “positively correlated with favorable perceptions of democracy.”
“Afghans who get their news and information from radio and shuras also tend to have less favorable views of women working outside the home than respondents who use television and the internet, and they are less likely than television and internet users to favor equal education for women,” it said.
Awareness of peace negotiations is highest among those who get their news and information from the internet (88.8%), radio (82.6%), or the mosque (80.1%), followed by television (79.0%), community shuras (78.8%), and friends and family (78.1%).
When asked if reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban is possible, those who use the internet are more likely to say it is possible than those who use other sources of news and information.