While trust in media as a whole may be at an all-time low, a new study by the EBU has shown the public’s trust in traditional media (broadcast and the written press) is actually on the rise.
However, people’s trust in new media continues to fall. Sixty-one per cent of European countries distrust the Internet while 97 per cent have no faith in social networks.
The EBU’s study – Trust in Media 2018 – shows how the gap between people’s trust in traditional and new media continues to grow. Broadcast media remain the most trusted forms of media with 59 per cent of people tending to trust radio (equivalent to 2017) and 51 per cent trusting TV in the EU (an increase of 1 percentage point on 2017).
Trust in the written press has also slowly improved over the last five years and it is now trusted by 47 per cent of EU citizens.
At the same time, people’s trust in the Internet and social media has been eroded by fake news, misinformation and disinformation. Only 34 per cent of EU citizens trust the Internet and a mere 20 per cent now trust social networks (down from 36 per cent and 21 per cent respectively in 2017).
The report shows how European citizens’ trust in broadcast media is closely connected with a free and independent press. The higher the level of trust in a country’s radio and TV, the higher press freedom in that country tends to be.
There are also strong regional differences with the Nordics and Albania tending to trust traditional media the most while Eastern Europeans tend to trust social networks and the Internet more.
“The results of our research show that good quality, impartial media is highly valued by the public,” noted Roberto Suárez Candel, the EBU’s Head of Strategy and the Media Intelligence Service. “Public service media play an important role in that and, together, our Members make an invaluable contribution to society. The role of our public service Members in upholding democratic values and supporting media freedom is clearly demonstrated by the results of our research.”