Media Literacy: New survey from the Norwegian regulator highlights importance of clear labelling and measures to strengthen source-critical competence

posted on 22 June, 2021   (public)

The youngest and oldest scored the worst

Every two years, the Norwegian Media Authority examines the population's critical media understanding, with a view to gaining insight into how critical media understanding develops over time.

In the new representative survey, the respondents were given several practical tasks, including answering whether six specific items on a front page from an online newspaper were editorial or commercial. Respondents should also define the type of information a Google search led to, and assess whether it was commercial, editorial or public information.



Some key outcomes of the study include:

  • Among 16–24-year-olds, 35 per cent answered all questions correctly. In the age group 60–79 years, 34 per cent were all right, while among those over 80 years, only 18 per cent answered all questions correctly.
  • In general, many were able to identify issues that were obviously editorial and commercial issues that were clearly marked. Many had problems with issues such as consumer tests.
  • Four out of ten did not identify information from the Norwegian Medicines Agency as public information. Especially the young (16-24 years) and the oldest (over 80 years) struggled to identify whether the information was of commercial, editorial or  public nature.

The results highlight the importance of clear labelling and identification of different types of content and of measures to strengthen source-critical competence.

Strengthening the population's critical media understanding is a priority for the Norwegian Media Authority: it develops advice and guidance material for various groups, and will soon come up with a new scheme for the elderly. The Authority has also developed teaching programmes on source criticism for secondary school students.


Source: Norwegian Media Authority

Methodology: The 2021 survey was conducted by Kantar in collaboration with academia on behalf of the Norwegian Media Authority. More than 2,000 people aged 16–102 have participated in this year's survey. The sample is nationally representative, and the respondents are drawn at random from Kantar's web panel.