Public trust in the news media sinks to new low

Less than a third of the British public trusts the media, a new international survey reveals.

Newspapers are trusted by just 19 per cent of the population, down 10 percentage points from last year.

Trust in radio news has fallen 20 points to 33 per cent, according to the 2009 Trust Barometer produced by PR firm Edelman.

The survey, based on interviews with 4,475 people in 20 countries, found that just 28 per cent of the UK public trusts the media in general.

Donald Steel, head of press at the BBC, has blamed the fall on ‘recent events’.

He said these events “will have an impact on public trust, but there is strong evidence that this is recovering”.

Last year, Sky News journalist David Blevins warned Christians that the way news is selected and presented in the media is controlled by a small group of people, often with an attitude that is hostile to Christianity.

“‘Religion’ is viewed as obscure, life-denying and regressive,” he said. “Organisations like Evangelical Alliance and the Christian Institute face an uphill struggle to change that perception.”

Last month, BBC presenter Jeremy Vine said he could not tell listeners to his radio show that he believes Jesus to be who he says he is, because it is becoming “almost socially unacceptable to say you believe in God”.

In October, a leading composer spoke of an ‘ignorant’ secular liberal minority in the media seeking to drive religion from the public sphere.

James MacMillan said: “These are people who speak only to themselves and have convinced each other that the rest of the country thinks just like them. They are wrong.”

He urged religious people to resist “increasingly aggressive attempts to still their voices”.

Also in October the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, said he thought broadcasters should treat Islam more sensitively than Christianity because Muslims are less integrated and more of a minority group.

The previous month the Christian best-selling author G P Taylor told how he was blacklisted by the BBC. He said a producer had told him the broadcaster could not be “seen to be promoting Jesus”.

Related Resources