In information environments characterized by institutional distrust, fragmentation and the widespread dissemination of conspiracies and disinformation, citizens perceive misinformation as a salient and threatening issue. Especially amidst disruptive events and crises, news users are likely to believe that information is inaccurate or deceptive. Using an original 19-country comparative survey study across diverse regions in the world (N = 19,037), we find that news users are likely to regard information on the Russian war in Ukraine as false. They are more likely to attribute false information to deliberative deception than to a lack of access to the war area or inaccurate expert knowledge. Russian sources are substantially more likely to be blamed for falsehoods than Ukrainian or Western sources – but these attribution biases depend on a country's position on the war. Our findings reveal that people mostly believe that falsehoods are intended to deceive them, and selectively associate misinformation with the opposed camp.
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© 2023 The Authors. European Journal of Political Research published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Consortium for Political Research.
- media trust