Levels of trust in traditional media are increasing across Europe as people question the veracity of what they see and read online. Public trust in traditional media (broadcast media and the press) increased in the last year as trust in the internet and social networks continued to fall.
According to a new EBU study – Trust in Media 2017 - broadcast media remains the most trusted media throughout Europe. Radio is the most trusted medium, trusted by 59% of EU citizens, closely followed by TV at 50%. In the last five years, trust in both media has continued to grow across Europe.
Trust in the written press has also increased over the last five years although it is generally still not seen as a trusted medium in most European countries.
Meanwhile, potentially fuelled by the debate around fake news, trust in the internet and social networks continues to fall and trust in social networks is at its lowest ever level. Only 36% of EU citizens tend to trust the internet and a mere 21% of EU citizens say they trust social networks. Those who did not trust social networks outnumbered those who did in all 33 countries surveyed.
There are some significant regional differences in the findings. For example it is mainly south-eastern European citizens, together with those in the UK, that show the least trust in the written press, while western European citizens show the least trust in social networks. Trust in radio and TV is highest in the Nordic regions. In Finland, for example, 82% of people tend to trust radio and 78% trust TV.
Head of the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service Roberto Suarez said: “It is reassuring that the public’s level of trust in broadcast media is actually increasing across Europe.
“In this post-truth world, it is encouraging to see the public can differentiate between competing sources of news and have chosen to put their trust in more traditional media.
“As public service broadcasters, it is the job of our Members to cherish and maintain that level of trust and continue to provide impartial, independent reporting to counter the spread of fake news and the limitation of filter bubbles on social media.”
Trust in Media 2017 is based on data published in the 86th Eurobarometer survey and gives an idea of European citizens’ perception of the trustworthiness of different types of media. The survey consists of approximately 1000 face-to-face interviews in the 33 countries covered by the study. The full Trust in Media 2017 report is available here.