Television is the primary source of information for Belgians since the start of the lockdown because of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), according to a survey by the Dedicate polling institute and the Whyte Corporate Affairs company.
The poll, conducted over the Easter weekend from 10 to 14 April, showed that 66% of Belgians frequently used multiple media to keep abreast of developments in the health crisis, and 45% cited the television as their primary information source.
The poll found further that Belgians wanted more information on issues other than the coronavirus.
The television has seen its audience increase more than all other media since the start of the lockdown. Over half (63%) of the 1,500 respondents said they watched TV more often to follow the news.
Dailies are also a major source of information. Their readership has increased, but mostly online: 48% of Belgians said they read the electronic version of newspapers more, while only 18% said they opted more often for the hard-copy version.
On the other hand, magazines have become less popular. Only 16% of respondents said they frequently surfed online magazine sites, while 10% said they were now reading hard-copy versions of magazines more often. The poll also found that young people tended to turn to social media more often for news: 59% of them did so, compared to an average of 33% for the general population.
About 82% of Belgians said they were satisfied with the quality of media coverage and, of these, half said they were even very satisfied. The satisfaction was higher in Flanders (88%) than in Brussels (77%) and Wallonia (75%).
However, 44% of respondents felt the media were overreporting the pandemic. This was the view of 52% of respondents in Wallonia and 54% in Brussels, but only 34% in Flanders.
Respondents said they wanted more information on health and well-being (68%), the economy and labour (64%) and environment and climate (51%).