DHARAMSHALA, July 27: In yet another display of deep seated mistrust of Chinese rule, a study has found that Tibetans in Tibet consider official Chinese state media outlet as the most unreliable news source.
Instead, they depend mostly on the age old "word of mouth" practice to disseminate news and information.
The study, carried out by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Gallup, released yesterday, said Tibetans take pride in sharing news actively within their trusted social circles.
The findings were gathered by Gallup in face-to-face interviews with 117 Tibetans from the three provincial regions of Kham, Amdo, and U-Tsang during the Dalai Lama’s January Kalachakra teachings in Bodhgaya, India. Thousands of Tibetan pilgrims from Tibet had travelled to India to receive the teachings.
“Gatherings such as these provide us with a unique opportunity to understand the changes that are taking place in how Tibetans access and share news amongst themselves,” said Rajesh Srinivasan, Principal Researcher at Gallup.
“While 89% of Tibetan travelers surveyed had televisions in their homes, none considered any official Chinese state media outlet their main reliable news source,” BBG said in a statement. “Nearly three quarters (74%) say other people are their top source for reliable news. Asked to name up to three reliable sources of news and information, 94% named word-of-mouth sources.”
Some of the significant events that Tibetans had heard about through word of mouth included the ongoing wave of self-immolations in Tibet, as well as Dr Lobsang Sangay’s election as Kalon Tripa last year.
The study also shows new possibilities for mobile phones and other digital media for disseminating news and information. “Texting has become a common mode of communication in Tibet, with more than four out of 10 (44 per cent) of those surveyed reporting that they had sent or received texts on their mobile phones,” BBG said.
Kalon Tripa Dr Lobsang Sangay, during his recent visit to Washington, was hosted by BBG. During their hour long meeting, the agency’s Governor Michael Meehan and International Broadcasting Bureau Director Richard M. Lobo “confirmed the BBG’s commitment to supporting freedom and democracy for all Tibetans through international media.”
The BBG offers around-the-clock coverage of events of interest to Tibetans, including short-wave services seven days a week and a constant audio signal by satellite, television broadcasts, plus an Internet presence that can be viewed anywhere in the world.