European trust in media: radio outshines social networks

While the overall perception of the trustworthiness of the media has decreased over the last five years, radio still remains the number one trusted source of news for European citizens, according to the European European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

by Nick Tjaardstra | August 10, 2016

Social media, increasingly the primary source of news, is the least trusted, and even a distrusted medium in Europe, according to the annual Eurobarometer survey.

In only one out of 33 countries surveyed, Albania, the number of people who trusted social media as a source of news outweighed those who tended not to.

In all other countries people “tend not to trust” social networks, with those in Sweden, Luxembourg, and Britain having the least trust in social networks as a source of information.

The internet also scored particularly low, as in the majority of countries, people “tend not to trust” it. Only 12 countries had positive results, most of which are in Southeast Europe.

The written press is not perceived to be much more trustworthy than the internet. Only 13 countries showed positive results, mostly in Nordic and Benelux regions where people have more trust in the press. In 14 countries it is regarded as the least trusted medium.

Good news for radio: although trust has also decreased for this medium as well, it remains by far the most trusted source of information. Most countries show a positive attitude towards radio and it came out as the primary trusted source in 20 countries, with an average of 55% positive response. Particularly high scores came from Sweden (74%), Finland (66%) and Denmark (57%).

Television, the second most trusted medium is still the number one source in 11 countries, but worth noting is that trust in television has decreased much more rapidly over the last year than the other media – with 10 points as opposed to radio, which only fell by three points, and the written press, the internet, and social media which decreased by only one point.

Roberto Suárez Candel, head of Media Intelligence Service (MIS) at EBU, told The Guardian that the results didn’t come as a surprise: “People maintain a strong relationship with radio and TV, which are still their primary sources of information and entertainment.”

“It is also not surprising that in countries with a high level of funding for public service TV and radio there tends to be more trust in the media in general – they produce good quality content and provide valuable information for society,” he told The Guardian.