The Finns Trust Their 'News' Most; The Greeks Not So Much

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Jun 23, 2024 - 11:35 AM

Each year, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism publishes a report on digital news consumption.

As Statista's Anna Fleck reports, the latest edition, based on a YouGov survey of more than 95,000 people in 47 countries and territories, documents how overall trust in news has remained stable since this time last year, raising the question: Have we finally reached rock bottom?

About four in ten people in the total sample say they trust most news most of the time.

Infographic: Where Trust In The News Is Highest & Lowest | Statista

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Among the countries surveyed, Finland remains the country with the highest level of trust (69 percent), while Greece and Hungary (23 percent) have the lowest.

According to the report, the low trust scores seen in countries such as the United States (32 percent), Argentina (30 percent) and France (31 percent) are partly attributable to the high levels of polarization and divisive debates over politics and culture within the respective societies.

In the Asia-Pacific, a fairly wide spectrum in levels of trust exists, with Hong Kong having gained 16 percentage points year-on-year to achieve 55 percent, the highest score of the region. This is despite many journalists having left the profession there while a sizeable chunk of those having chosen to stay admit to having resorted to self-censorship following the implementation of the National Security Law in 2020, which means they may more easily be charged for ‘secession’, ‘subversion’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘collusion with foreign organizations’ over their reporting.

Indonesia (35 percent), Taiwan (33 percent) and South Korea (31 percent) place towards the bottom of the survey ranking.

In Indonesia, this may worsen yet, as the new Criminal Code, which will be effective from January 2026, will have 17 articles with the capacity to threaten press freedoms, including bans on criticizing the president, vice-president and state institutions.

According to the report, in Taiwan, the media is dominated by private companies, with divides worsening between pro-independence and pro-unification voices. Meanwhile, South Korea is facing an economic slowdown, which has seen advertising spending fall as big online streaming platforms continue to fuel a decrease in attention for news programming, leading to cuts to staffing and production costs. South Korean media companies have also faced major backlash following the widespread reporting of a movie star who took his own life, with criticism of the coverage feeding into a culture of sensationalism.

It is important to note here that the data shown in this chart is based on citizens’ perceptions of the trustworthiness of media or news brands and that these scores are aggregates of subjective opinions.

Analysts stress that this means that changes over time are often much influenced by “political and social factors as narrowly about the news itself."