Trusted, accurate and the most important to viewers -news

News comes first for 93 per cent of viewers: BBC presenter Fiona Bruce

News has been declared the most important television programme genre to viewers, according to research by the Independent Television Commission and the Broadcasting Standards Commission, published this week.

The Public’s View 2002 report concluded that television news came first for 93 per cent of the public, “both as a vital component of public service broadcasting and in terms of personal interest”. Factual programmes had the second highest rating at 84 per cent.

In addition, 70 per cent of all viewers also listed television as the most trusted source for news, above radio and newspapers, and up to 89 per cent perceived that television news was accurate all or most of the time.

As such, the proportion of British viewers who regard television as their primary source of international news grew to 79 per cent in 2002, up from 66 per cent in the previous year.

Conversely, the share of respondents that used newspapers as their primary source for world news dropped to 9 per cent from 16 per cent previously. The report said that readers of tabloid newspapers were more likely than broadsheet readers to use television as their main source of world news.

However, nearly half of all viewers continued to perceive a drop in general television standards in 2002, with 47 per cent feeling standards had worsened – on par with figures in the previous year, but up from 28 per cent of viewers in 2000.

An additional worry for viewers was the perception of intrusion into people’s lives. 61 per cent of viewers thought there was too much intrusion – even more than those that thought there was too much sex on television, which was 44 per cent.

ITC chief executive Patricia Hodgson commented that the report “underlined the importance of access to independent impartial news programmes on popular channels.

“The public is telling us that this is the most important public service that television can offer them.”

By Wale Azeez

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