A survey of senior Singapore-based business leaders conducted by BBC Global News in June 2021 has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how they consume, engage and share the news. It also highlighted how the pandemic has heightened business leaders’ desire for greater trustworthiness and objectivity in their news sources.

The survey of 250 senior business leaders in Singapore found that 70 percent of respondents are now more concerned about misinformation than they were before the pandemic, with 59 percent believing that misinformation could be directly harmful to their business. In addition, 71 percent cited trustworthiness as being a key attribute when considering news sources – followed closely by objectivity (55 percent), having a global perspective (54 percent) and impartiality (48 percent).

The pandemic has also changed news consumption habits among Singapore’s business leaders, with 59 percent of respondents indicating they are now consuming more news, with the majority (58 percent) accessing this news through online channels or via apps. 

In terms of the impact of news on business, 77 percent say that COVID-19 has made them realise how much global news can affect their business, with 63 percent of business leaders now more likely to use global news sources to inform their business decisions.

When it comes to sharing news amongst their peers and business contacts, over a quarter of respondents indicated that they share more news now than compared to before the pandemic. Over 60 percent of respondents said they share a piece of news at least once a week. 

In line with their focus on the trustworthiness of news sources, 81 percent indicated that they would only share news from sources that they trust, and 78 percent indicated that they respect people who share helpful information and news stories. 

Finally, business leaders were concerned about their reputation when sharing news, with 76 percent believing it would reflect badly on them if a story they shared turned out to be untrue.

“Given both the pandemic’s impact on Singapore and the government’s ongoing efforts to crack down on fake news, it is clear that local business leaders are more cautious than ever before about the source of their news and its potential impact,” said John Williams, Vice President Singapore & SEA, BBC Global News, APAC.

“Following a period of looking inward and protecting their business interests, as Singapore dealt with the initial stages of COVID-19, Singapore’s business leaders are now focusing on trustworthy and objective global news sources that will drive their future success,” he added.