Latin American Countries Lack Trust in Government Information Reveals Premise

Latin American Countries Lack Trust in Government Information Reveals Premise

Due to lack of trust in national government, countries in Latin America look to international official sources of information around COVID-19


By Daniela Rubio | Program Manager

Governments in Latin America are just starting to implement social distancing policies, many of them a month behind other countries in the world. Even so, our contributors have been reporting photographs of “social-distancing evidence” since the beginning of March 2020, albeit official government actions only beginning toward the end of the month.

Social distancing outside an ATM in the outskirts of Bogotá, Colombia (March 26, 2020)
Restaurant offering TO-GO only w/phone and delivery apps (Rappi, UberEats, SinDelantal) and a “Stay at HOME” message in Mexico City, Mexico (March 26, 2020)
A market limits the number of people outside of Caracas, Venezuela (March 27, 2020)

On March 20th, Premise launched a survey to assess sentiment around the current state of information sharing and overall messaging related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The survey is global but this blog will dive deep into the Latin American region with a specific focus on Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.

The data we’ve collected shows that overall there is a lack of trust in the information around COVID-19 being provided by national authorities is still mainly broadcasted by television and increasingly through phone app notifications. 

There is a more positive sentiment around state and local authorities’ information and even a greater confidence level in the information being shared by international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

As a result of this lack of confidence in national sources of information, our contributors are looking for alternative sources to learn how to take proper precautions and self-care around COVID-19. One of the main sources reportedly is social media (with Facebook taking the lead) and local television.

Respondents in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela report higher confidence levels around local and state COVID-19 information than the national government.

Confidence in National Government COVID 19 Information 

Respondents in Mexico and Colombia report mostly feeling ‘moderately confident’ while Venezuela has a higher percentage of respondents in the category of ‘slightly confident.’

  • 50% of Colombian respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 31% ‘slightly confident’
  • 39% of Mexican respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 31% ‘slightly confident’
  • 37% of Venezuelan respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 41% ‘slightly confident’

Confidence in State and Local Authorities COVID 19 Information

Respondents in Mexico and Colombia report mostly feeling ‘moderately confident’ while Venezuela has a higher percentage of respondents in the category of ‘slightly confident.’

  • 52% of Colombian respondents said they feel “moderately confident” and 29% ‘slightly confident’
  • 40% of Mexican respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 32% ‘slightly confident’
  • 43% of Venezuelan respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 39% ‘slightly confident’

Confidence in the World Health Organization COVID-19 Information

All three countries also report being ‘moderately confident’ to ‘very confident’ around the accuracy of information received by the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • 53% of Colombian respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 17% ‘very confident’
  • 45% of Mexican respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 22% ‘very confident’
  • 53% of Venezuelan respondents said they feel ‘moderately confident’ and 22% ‘very confident’

Expectations around official communication media channels to receive COVID-19 information 

All three countries also report that television would be the place where they would expect to find official information (from the government) around COVID-19. Moreover, in Mexico and Venezuela, phone app notifications seem to be a channel increasingly important for official news.

  • 61% of respondents in Colombia think TV would be the main source of official news
  • 44% of respondents in Mexico think TV would be the main source of official news followed by 21% of respondents suggesting that it would be through phone app notifications
  • 50% of contributors in Venezuela think TV would be the main source of official news followed by 13% of respondents suggesting that it would be through phone app notifications

Finally, in Mexico and Venezuela, our contributors report that social media platforms are their most common source of information on COVID-19 but our data indicates local television remains relevant for the three countries.

  • 29% of contributors in Colombia think local TV would be the main source of information regarding COVID-19 followed by 23% reporting it would be national TV and 14% social media
  • 31% of contributors in Mexico think social media would be the main source of information regarding COVID-19 followed by 24% reporting it would be local TV and 22% national TV
  • 35% of contributors in Venezuela think social media would be the main source of information regarding COVID-19 followed by 17% reporting it would be local TV and 15% national TV

Facebook is the preferred social media source to learn about COVID-19  in Colombia and Mexico, while in Venezuela the preference is distributed among Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • 72% of contributors in Colombia prefer Facebook over other social media
  • 68% of contributors in Mexico prefer Facebook over other social media
  • 36% of contributors in Venezuela  prefer Instagram over other social media followed by Facebook 27%, and Twitter 20%

To conclude, Premise was able to capture sentiments around current information around COVID-19 in Colombia, Mexico, and Venezuela. What we found is an indicator that alternative media sources and official sources are gaining traction as a source to get informed (such as the official international sources like the WHO and channels like social networks) given that the level of confidence in what national governments are transmitting is weak. In the upcoming weeks, it will be interesting to track how state and local governments gain traction vis a vis national governments.

You can visit www.premise.com/COVID-19 to learn more about the data we are collecting about this global pandemic.

 

There were 1,987 respondents from Colombia, 1,984 respondents from Mexico and 2,957 respondents from Venezuela. All the data represented in this post was collected between March 20th and April 1st, 2020 through the Premise App.

About Daniela Rubio

As a Program Manager for Premise, Daniela works with owns relationships with Premise clients and partners during the implementation of programs and projects in the international development space. She works cross-functionally with different teams at Premise including growth, engineering and solutions to make sure all aspects of our projects run smoothly. She provides insights to the marketing team and supports the product and sales teams in customer discovery discussions with potential clients and partners. She has more than 10 years of global experience helping organizations and governments tackle complex problems with strategic thinking, partnership and cultural empathy.