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Users see Internet as key information source

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- The Internet is considered a more important source for information than TV or radio by those who use online technology, according to a UCLA report released on Wednesday.

Users also give the Internet, where anyone with computer access can post information, a high rating for credibility, the report said.

But non-users remain skeptical.

Two-thirds of survey respondents who use the Internet call it an "important" or "extremely important" source of information, while just 53 percent ranked television and 47 percent considered radio at the same level of importance.

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"Whether you love it or you hate it, it's clear that the Internet is not a passing fad, and its impact is real and profound," said Jeffrey Cole, director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, which sponsored the report.

Those who do not use the Internet viewed it as less important, with just 26 percent placing it in the "important" or "extremely important" category, the report said.

Some 55 percent of Internet users said "most" or "all" information in cyberspace is reliable and accurate, while only a third of non-users agreed.

"If online organizations and individuals hope to rely on the Internet as a communications vehicle, the public's perception of information delivered through this technology must shift considerably," Cole said.

Both online junkies and virgins agreed the Internet carries privacy risks, according to the report, with about two-thirds of users and three-quarters of non-users agreeing with the statement: "People who go online put their privacy at risk."

Details on numbers surveyed for the report were not immediately available.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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RELATED SITES:
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