Trust in Media 2017: EBU Report

In the age of media abundance, trust is important in the relationship between media and their audience. However, maintaining a high level of trust is more and more challenging in a world of filter bubbles, echo chambers and fake news. Measuring trust is therefore essential for tracking citizens’ perceptions of the media organization and its output. This is crucial for audience building and useful for Members’ strategic planning.

Trust in Media throughout Europe has been measured by EBU in its “Trust in Media 2017” report published on 23 May 2017 in which it is defined as “the individual’s perception of the reliability of other individuals and institutions”. The report is based on the results of the data published in the 86th Eurobarometer survey.

The report gives an idea of European citizens’ perception of the trustworthiness of several types of media, and includes EU Member States as well as acceding and candidate countries.

The key findings of the report are as follows:

  • The most trusted media are still broadcast media: out of the 33 countries surveyed, Radio is the most trusted media in 21 countries and TV in 11 countries.
  • The gap between broadcast and new media is widening: while traditional media increased their levels of trust compared to last year, new media (Internet and social networks) lost even more trust.
  • The least trusted media are social networks and the written press: in 17 out of 33 countries, social networks are the media that people trust the least. The majority of these countries are western European. The written press is trusted the least in 13 out of 33 countries, most of which are in eastern Europe.
  • Trustworthiness affects all five media categories similarly: in 15 out of the 33 countries the trust indexes for all five media categories are decreasing, meaning that it is likely that trustworthiness is not media specific but related to external factors which influence media as a whole.

In comparison to the results of the previous report, trust in broadcast media (radio and TV) and the written press increased again, while trust in online media (Internet and social networks) continued to decrease.

This report has been produced by the Media Intelligence Service (MIS) of the EBU. The MIS provides Member broadcasting organisations with the latest market data, research and analysis needed.