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Public trust in UK media plummets, now among lowest in world
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June 16, 2020 at 8:15 am

Just 28% of people in the UK said they trust “most news most of the time”, according to a poll in January this year, down from 40% in January 2019.

Trust in news in the UK is among the lowest in the world, according to data in The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Digital News Report 2020, which found that overall trust in the media continues to fall globally.

In the January poll, across all 40 countries involved in the research, 38% said they trust “most news most of the time”, a fall of four percentage points from 2019.

The overall sample size for the research was 80,155 adults with around 2,000 taking part in each country.

In January 2016, just a few months before the Brexit vote, 50% of people in the UK said they trust “most news most of the time”.

This is 22 percentage points more than the 28% recorded in January 2020.

Subsequent polling for the Reuters Institute shows that the Coronavirus pandemic did temporarily increase trust levels in the news media in the early stages of lockdown, but this has fallen again.

Trust in the BBC with the most partisan groups has fallen by 20 percentage points since 2018, according to the research.

Looking at nine countries, researchers found that a preference for objective neutral news is strongest in Germany, Japan, Denmark and the UK, with 76% of people in the UK saying they prefer it.

Meanwhile, researchers found that local newspapers are trusted by 55% of people in the UK.

The report said local newspapers, and their websites, are valued much more in some countries than others.

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More than half of those who regularly read local newspapers in Germany (54%) say they would miss them “a lot” if they were no longer there, with 49% in Norway, and 39% in the US saying the same.

Just 25% of those who read local newspapers in the UK say they would miss them.


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