International survey on US attacks carried out in the Czech Republic

Attack on USA, September 11th, 2001

It's not just the politicians that are discussing all the possible implications of the terrorist attacks on the New York and Washington and the subsequent US-led retaliation. An survey of Czech public opinion was carried out recently via the Internet, and it revealed many surprising results, as we hear from Alena Skodova.

The survey was conducted jointly by the Charles University Faculty of Sociology in Prague and by the Network Media Service company, and received 2000 responses from Czech citizens as well as some 500 from foreign nationals. The survey revealed that even at a time of developed information technology, it is human contact that still plays a pivotal role in disseminating immediate information about the attacks, as we hear from Eva Veisova from the Network Media Service company:

"The main topic of the project was an immediate reaction of people to the attacks on the United States. The research started on September 13th, only two days after the attacks, and the basic question was what had been the primary source of information about the attacks. We found out that despite the fact that was a survey of Internet population, 33 percent of respondents were using television, 20 percent from a face-to-face contact, 17 percent via telephone or mobile phone contacts, 16 percent from radio newsreels, and the least used media were Internet and e-mail - for only 10 percent of respondents."

So you said you did the survey right after the attacks, what did people think who stood behind them, as it was not yet known?

"No, it was not yet known, we found out they thought it was a well-organized group on the first place, then that it was somebody who is against the United States in general, on the third place it was Islamic fundamentalists, on the fourth Arab terrorists, we also had responses saying it was Palestinian terrorists and anti-Semite organizations."

Could you compare the answers by Czech respondents and foreign ones, were they similar or did they differ?

"The response differ when it comes to emotions, respondents from America and the Anglo-Saxon world in general told us they were afraid of the attacks. There were not so many scared people in the Czech Republic, which is quite obvious."

The survey also showed that directly after the attacks on New York and Washington, people in the Czech Republic discussed the disaster intensively. 90 percent of respondents said they discussed the matter for at least an hour, and two thirds talked about the attacks with their family, neighbours or friends for the rest of the day.

However, another opinion poll, carried out by the Public Opinion Research Centre at the Czech Academy of Sciences, found that Czech society is divided about the main causes of the tragic events. 11 percent of Czechs perceive the primary reasons in the foreign policy pursued by the United States. The rest are convinced that it's the terrorists who are fully to blame, spurred on by their fanatical believes and basic hatred of the United States.