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Step 2: Design

Chapter 5 - Which media channels are most effective at engaging with rural and urban communities in Lower Mekong and in China?

Note: This chapter examines media usage across the Lower Mekong Region, and potential media channels and influencers for engaging people with content related to preventing forest crime.



Smartphones and televisions are the main media devices owned by people across the surveyed countries. Ownership of such media devices is clearly linked to the developmental stage of the country and access to consumer goods.


People consume and trust information from a mix of mainstream news and and social media sources particularly Facebook and Youtube for Lower Mekong countries and national newspapers for China. Also, top influencers for potential campaigns against illegal logging include family, friends, government officials and environmental protection NGOs.


Respondents prefer to share information via their family, friends and social media channels.

Perceptions of forest crime in the Lower Mekong countries are formed from a mix of sources, experiences and social norms.

Realities are created based on perceptions or people’s interpretation of the information presented to them. If majority of the people perceive that illegal logging and trade are not serious issues, this becomes their reality. Based on the survey findings, people in the Lower Mekong countries and China perceive forest crime to be synonymous with illegal logging. They also perceive that the severity of such crime is not particularly high, and that it is mostly the responsibility of governments and businesses to stop forest crime.

Such perceptions were formed from a mix of experiences, social norms, the access to and ability to process information, and other external influencers such as family, friends, etc. In particular, media, both traditional and social media, plays a critical role in forming perceptions. Thus, it is important to understand media usage in the region, and which channel and/or influencer can be used to best engage with key audiences.


Most respondents own televisions and smartphones. And media usage is dominated by television and internet.


5.2. Majority of the respondents use and own smartphones and televisions

Across all countries the main devices owned were smartphones and televisions. Ownership is clearly linked to the developmental stage of the country and access to consumer goods. For example, personal computers and newspaper are also popular devices in China. Meanwhile, media usage is dominated by television and the internet.



Facebook, Tiktok, Weibo, and Instagram are the most widely used social media platform across the China and the Lower Mekong countries. And chatting through WeChat, Messenger, Line, and Telegram are very popular among respondents

5.3. Different social media platforms are popular in China than in the Lower Mekong

Chinese respondents reported subscriptions to numerous social media platforms that are not widely used in the other countries such as Weibo, Qzone and Douban. In the Lower Mekong countries, Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, followed by Tik Tok and Instagram.


5.4. WeChat, Messenger and Line Are the most popular online chat services

The usage of online chat services varies across countries. In China, respondents reported using WeChat much more than other chat services. In the Lower Mekong countries, Messenger is by far the most popular online chat service, followed by LINE and Telegram

5.5. Trusted information sources vary by country, but generally a mix between mainstream TV and social media platforms

The top five trusted news sources listed by respondents varied by country. Mainstream TV news is most trusted in Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand. It is worth noting that in Lao PDR, announcements through government loud speakers are effective in reaching audiences, however this was not covered in the standard questions in the survey. In China national newspapers, cable news and mainstream TV news are most trusted. In Myanmar, international newspapers are reported to be most trusted. Facebook and Youtube are trusted across countries

5.6. Family, friends, government officials and environmental protection NGOs are the top influencers for potential campaigns against illegal logging

In China, respondents reported that friends and government officials are the most influential on them, followed by journalists and environmental protection NGOs. Respondents in Cambodia reported relatively high levels of influence from a wide range of stakeholders, although family and environmental protection NGOs were at the top of the list. Levels of influence were reported to be generally low by respondents in Lao PDR and Myanmar, but friends and family as well as environmental protection NGOs were reported to be somewhat influential. In Thailand, family was said to be most influential, followed by government officials and environmental protection NGOs. In Vietnam, family members were most influential, followed by the police and local government officials, but senior government officials and environmental officers were less so.


“Personally, if someone invites me to join efforts to prevent illegal logging, I will join as I feel deplored that a large tree has been destroyed. We should preserve the forest for collecting mushrooms and wild vegetables and allow wild animals to live”.
-Male respondent, rural Lao PDR


5.7. People prefer to share information with their family and friends, as well as on social media

Respondents across all countries listed friends and family among their top preferred channels for sharing information. Social media was also a preferred place to share information. Notably, community meetings were universally less preferred than social media as a place to share information.


“Yes, I will join efforts to stop illegal logging. Because it's about protecting environment, I will help with explaining and spreading awareness. I will help by doing whatever I can.”
-Female respondent, rural Myanmar



Building on the analysis of Lower Mekong media usage and influencers provided in this chapter, the next chapter will examine the findings of the knowledge, attitude and practice score to identify country-specific gaps that can inform and track the development and implementation of country-specific campaigns and interventions.