British public's trust in media increases

By Zoe Smith

Trust in the media among the British public has rocketed in the past four years but still trails behind other countries, according to a survey published this week.

According to the BBC, Reuters and Media Centre Poll, trust in the media has increased overall over the last four years in Britain from 29 per cent to 47 per cent.

Doug Miller, director of GlobeScan, the company which conducted the report said: "Trust in the media in the UK has progressively increased over the last four years but the level of trust is still low compared to other countries."

The international survey, in which 10,230 adults in ten countries were surveyed, found that Britain was one of the few countries in which citizens were more likely to trust what the government told them than news from media sources (51 percent – 47 percent).

Dean Wright of Reuters, one of the companies who commissioned the research, said they felt it was appropriate to explore the issue of trust and to get a global ‘benchmark’ of where the media stands.

He said: "This is very much a global society that we’re in and increasingly borders don’t matter as much in the way that people get their news. Certainly in a digital world, borders can be largely irrelevant to people who are looking for news."

His comments were borne out in the findings which revealed that the BBC was one of the most trusted news sources in six of the ten countries surveyed.

The report showed that British citizens were less likely to believe that the media reports all sides of a story.

A total of 64 per cent disagreed that the media achieves this in Britain compared with 88 percent who agreed that the media does report all sides in Indonesia, 64 percent in Russia and 63 percent in Nigeria.

Almost one in three (29 percent) Britons say they have stopped using a certain media source in the past year because it has lost their trust – in line with the global average of 28 percent.

Traditional media in the UK are seen as the most trusted news sources, with national television trusted by 86 percent, national newspapers trusted by 75 percent and public broadcasting by 67 percent.

Miller said: "Television comes out on top, in part because it is most used as a primary news source. Beyond that it’s conjecture but perhaps the verite of the images make it so."

The most trusted specific news brands in Britain are BBC News, mentioned by (32 percent), ITV News (8 percent), Sky News (7 per cent), The Daily Mail (3 percent), The Times (2 percent), The Telegraph (2 percent) and The Guardian (1 percent).

One finding revealed that British respondents were more likely than Russian respondents to agree that their respective governments interfere too much in the media (58 percent – 49 percent).

The report showed that online sources were most preferred by younger people – they were the first choice among people 19 percent of respondents aged between 18 to 24 compared to just 3 percent in the 55 to 64 age range.

Miller said that traditional media should be aware of the trend towards the internet as a preferred news source for young men.

He said: "Definitely traditional media should be concerned. Particularly in television where our analysis suggests people, particularly those young urban males that we identify as the predominant switchers. They tend to be lower in their television use and significantly higher in their internet use."

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