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Esomar And Sava Raise Questions About Media T Polling

March 18, 2019 Business News No Comments Email Email

Two years ago, ESOMAR, the global voice for Data, Research and Insights, criticized MediaT for its unauthorized use of the ESOMAR member mark, which only authorized ESOMAR members may use. http://www.stevecafeandcuisine.com/

MediaT maintains no website, and publishes polls about Slovakia only on Facebook. This raises doubts about the trustworthiness of the polls published.

Slovakia, like many countries, restricts the publication of election poll results, forbidding poll publication in the two weeks preceding an election. We are now in the blackout period before the March 16 presidential vote. All ESOMAR and SAVA, the Slovak Association of Research Agencies, members are committed to following these legal requirements.

Nonetheless, ESOMAR and SAVA regard the blackout of election poll publication in Slovakia for 14 days before an election as a severe limitation on the rights of journalists and voters to important and necessary information that can help them cast an informed vote as highlighted by a recent ESOMAR/WAPOR Report on the Freedom to Conduct Opinion Polling.

MediaT has never been a member of ESOMAR or of SAVA. We cannot attest to the organisation’s effective adherence to the ICC/ESOMAR Code which sets essential global standards for polling. As an example, MediaT does not provide critical information about its “poll” which forms one of the key requirements of those standards. Accordingly, we do not know whether MediaT publishes verifiable results on its outlets.

ESOMAR and SAVA recommend to thoroughly verify any poll published or shared on social media during this period, as any polls reported during the pre-election blackout period may have been manufactured.

Fake polls are a global concern. Fake polls attempt to mislead both readers and the public, and undercut the confidence that good polls need. And they undermine democracy.

How can you tell something is a fake poll? When most journalists report on polls, they follow guidelines and report information about how a poll was conducted. The news media itself is also responsible for the truth of what it reports. Polls shared only on social media are not subject to any verification process, and are distributed through contact networks without any control.

Organisations like ESOMAR and SAVA care about ethical standards and set rules that real researchers are required to follow across the world.

There are a few tests one should apply every time you read or hear about a poll finding to prevent being duped by a fake poll:

  1. Consider the source. Who is reporting the poll? Have you heard of the survey organization? Is it coming from a known (and reliable) news source? Does the person reporting the poll – or paying for it — have a political bias? Real polls should appear on an organization’s website. You can always check the ESOMAR website’s member search (https://www.esomar.org/community/our-people) or the SAVA website (https://sava.sk/en/clenstvo/zoznam-clenov/) to learn if an organization conducting a poll is a member and follows its rules.
  2. Read the story. Does it make sense? Could the poll actually have been conducted in the time period described? Are you told what group was part of the sample (are the opinion supposed to be of all adults, of people who voted, of people who tweeted, or people who gave money to a candidate)? Was the question or questions they asked reasonable? Reputable polling organizations are required to report their methodology. Does something strike you as wrong? If a figure is really surprising, you might want to look at other polls to see if their results are similar.
  3. Ask questions. Real pollsters will answer them. In fact, they must answer them, according to the ethics guidelines of associations like ESOMAR and SAVA. Any polls reported during the preelection blackout period may have been manufactured.

    In short: Consider, Read, Ask.

You should report any polls you believe are fake to ESOMAR or to SAVA as associations have disciplinary processes in place to investigate and enforce our Codes of Conducts against organisations that would undermine the reputation of our sector. Members of the public have the opportunity at any time to verify whether the publisher of poll results exists, whether it is a member of a professional association such as ESOMAR or SAVA, and whether it respects the methodological standards that are published on these organizations‘ websites. In Slovakia, SAVA is always ready to respond to public questions and help it distinguish existing and non-existent agencies.

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