Trust in the British media rockets - but it's still lower than other countries

By Zoe Smith

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

A poll by the BBC, Reuters and Media Centre found that trust in the media has increased overall over the past four years in Britain, from 29 to 47 per cent.

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

The international survey, in which 10,230 adults in 10 countries were surveyed, revealed 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 per cent to 47 per cent).

Dean Wright of Reuters, one of the companies which commissioned the research, said the company 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 10 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 per cent who agreed that the media does report all sides in Indonesia, 64 in Russia and 63 in Nigeria.

Almost one in three (29 per cent)

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 per cent.

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

GlobeScan’s 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 verité of the images make it so."

The most trusted news brands in Britain are BBC News, mentioned by 32 per cent; ITV News (eight); Sky News (seven); the Daily Mail (three); The Times (two); The Daily Telegraph (two) and The Guardian (one).

One finding revealed that British respondents were more likely than Russian respondents to agree that their respective Government interferes too much in the media (58 to 49 per cent).

Online sources were reported to be most preferred by younger people.

They were the first choice among 19 per cent of respondents aged between 18 and 24, compared to just 3 per cent 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 young urban males, that we identify as the predominant switchers, tend to be lower in their television use and significantly higher in their internet use."

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