Over 50 per cent of Europeans trust media: Survey

Police intervene when activists block the entrance of the European Commission while they protest in front of the building of the European Commission against the subsidies of Europe in the armaments industry in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov 10, 2016.
Police intervene when activists block the entrance of the European Commission while they protest in front of the building of the European Commission against the subsidies of Europe in the armaments industry in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov 10, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

BRUSSELS (AFP) - A little more than half of Europeans trust their news media, with the figure much higher in Scandinavian countries but lower in several southern countries, an EU study said Thursday (Nov 17).

Some 53 per cent of respondents agreed their national media provide trustworthy information, while 44 per cent disagree, according to the survey by the European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU.

Respondents in Finland led the way with 88 per cent putting their faith in the media, followed by 77 per cent in both Sweden and Denmark.

In Ireland, 61 per cent agreed the media provided trustworthy information, while the figure for Britain was 44 per cent.

In contrast, only 26 per cent in Greece, 34 per cent in France and 38 per cent in Spain trusted what they read or hear on the media. However, the figure was 73 per cent in Portugal.

Some 87 per cent in Greece, 71 per cent in Spain and 69 per cent in France believe the information they receive was not free from commercial or political pressure.

Some 78 per cent in Finland, 61 per cent in Denmark and 61 per cent in the Netherlands believe their national media is independent.

Across the bloc, 57 per cent believe the media comes under political or commercial pressure while 38 per cent deemed them independent, according to the survey of nearly 28,000 citizens from all social categories from Sept 24 until Oct 3.

"In the eyes of Europeans, there is still considerable work to be done in ensuring the independence of national media - a vital cornerstone of a democratic EU," according to the survey.

The Oxford Dictionaries chose "post-truth" as their word of the year on Wednesday (Nov 16), saying its use had spiked because of the Brexit vote in Britain and the rise of Donald Trump in the United States.

The publisher defined the word as "relating or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief".