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88% of Russians Prefer to Get News From TV

A vast majority of Russians prefer to learn the news from the television, although the percentage has dropped slightly over the last four years, while the percentage of people who read news online has increased, according to a poll released Monday.

Eighty-eight percent of those polled by the Levada Center said they preferred to watch television to get the news, compared to 94 percent in 2009.

At the same time, more and more are turning to the Internet for news, going from 9 percent in 2009 to 21 percent this year, according to the poll. Fourteen percent of respondents said they used social networks to learn the news, compared to 6 percent in 2009.

The government owns or controls almost all the national TV channels, providing it a powerful tool for shaping public opinion, and anti-Kremlin politicians frequently complain about their lack of airtime.

Television was still cited as the "most trusted" media by respondents to the survey, with 51 percent responding in the affirmative compared to 79 percent in 2009, but trust in online sources is going up: 14 percent trust Internet publications most and 11 percent social networks, compared to 7 percent and 4 percent four years ago, respectively.

The second most popular mode of receiving the news was through friends and relatives, with 24 percent of respondents saying they learn about current events that way.

According to the survey, newspapers' popularity is waning, with only 20 percent of respondents saying they read them now compared to 37 percent four years ago. Magazines declined to 4 percent from 8 percent, and radio to 16 percent from 41 percent.

The survey was conducted from June 20 to 24 among 1,600 residents of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.4 percent.

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