“The more national PSM are perceived to be free from political pressure, the higher the level of press freedom in a country.” – David Fernandez Quijada, Manager of the EBU’s Media Intelligence Service 

The question about trust and the media in democratic societies is perhaps more pertinent than ever.

It has been argued that today, trust and authority of the media are at stake, due to a perfect storm of related phenomena. As societies, and individuals, we have witnessed a shift in our relationship with knowledge; that is, common ideas of objectivity and “truth” are not prominent in public debates. Deep dissatisfaction in existing political actors, systems, and structures is coupled with fierce competition in media markets. Technological advances have fostered fragmentation among media publics and created information habits based on algorithms and micro-segmenting. Viral content sharing online has become a distribution vehicle of targeted propaganda and disinformation. Consequently, there exists an increasing distrust in elites and institutions, whether political or journalistic.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has studied trust in media in Europe and created a Net Trust Index, based on Eurobarometers and Reuters Digital News research. The results highlight the diminishing trust in social media and confirm the central role of public service media as a trusted source in Europe:

TRUST GAP BETWEEN BROADCAST AND ONLINE MEDIA

Broadcast media are the most trusted media throughout Europe. Radio is trusted in
85% of European countries, TV in 75%. Trust in online media is in constant decline,
with social networks being the least trusted media in 88% of European countries.

LOW POLITICAL PRESSURE ON PSM MEANS MORE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

The more national PSM are perceived to be free from political pressure, the higher
the level of press freedom in a country. Thus, independent PSM are key for a free
and uncensored media landscape.

MORE TRUSTWORTHY NEWS MEANS MORE SATISFACTION WITH DEMOCRACY

A positive correlation between the perceived trustworthiness of national news and
citizen’s satisfaction with democracy makes radio and TV indispensable assets for
European societies.

HIGH TRUST IN PSM NEWS

PSM are among the most trusted news brands in more than 80% of European
markets. In more than 60% of the markets, PSM is the number 1 brand for trusted
news.

Read more, and sign up to download the report here.