Public service media (PSM) has a critical role to play in maintaining society’s trust in media, the Head of the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service Roberto Suárez has told an EU meeting in Brussels.
Suárez was addressing delegates at the Estonian Presidency seminar, ahead of the Council of the European Union's General Affairs Council in the Autumn.
He told the audience that broadcast media remains the most trusted media in Europe. Bolstered by strong public service media performance, 59% of EU citizens trust radio, closely followed by TV at 50%. In contrast, only 36% of EU citizens trust the internet and a mere 21% say they trust social networks.
The proliferation of fake news stories, spread rapidly through social networks, is undermining trust in media. In turn, the EU is worried that this will weaken the quality of political discourse and ultimately damage the ability of the media to fulfil its role in holding states, the EU and other agencies to account. Pluralistic, independent and high-quality news and information is a pre-requisite of democratic societies.
Suárez said: “PSM has an important role to play in helping restore the public’s trust in media. From their strong position in broadcasting media, we believe PSM organizations can help increase citizens' trust in online media too.
“We saw, in our correlations report, that countries with a strong market share in PSM radio or TV enjoyed higher levels of trust in media. We believe the trust people have in PSM brands will translate to the online world and we will be working with our Members to help them increase positive perceptions across all platforms.”
Last month, the EBU launched a Quality Journalism initiative to help Members re-define and re-position their offer to audiences in this new multi-platform age. And new services like Academy training and the User Generated Content Verification Network are helping broadcasters authenticate news stories with up to 40 cleared videos offered every day.
To close his presentation, Suárez pointed out that media literacy, education and labour conditions for journalist are essential parts of the solution to fake news. Following their values, PSM organizations are positioned to lead the way and remain strong contributors to democracy and societal well-being.