Monday 14 November 2011

The phone hacking effect? Poll shows the public don't trust media to cover Eurozone crisis fairly

New research shows a large percentage of the British population don’t trust the media’s ability to report the Eurozone economic crisis independently of business influence.

The research commissioned by City University shows that 40 per cent of those polled in a survey say journalists are "forced by global media companies to act in an unethical way".

City University says the academic behind the study, Steve Schifferes, Professor of financial journalism at City, believes the lack of trust may be linked to the phone hacking scandal.

He said: “The role of journalists during the crisis has been much discussed. This survey shows that while the public don't blame the media for exacerbating the crisis, journalists do have a long way to go before they can satisfy the demands of the public for accurate, unbiased reporting.”

The survey also suggests that although the British public is very worried about the European economic crisis they don’t feel media coverage has helped them understand its impact on them personally - and they are baffled by the jargon used by journalists.

The poll of 2,000 British respondents was conducted as a part of a new research project titled Media and the Economic Crisis which was was led by Professor Schifferes. Its finding reveal:

People are very worried about the crisis:

  • 75 per cent of respondents said they are closely following the news about the economic situation
  • There has been a significant increase in the number of people looking at information frequently about their personal finances, with 74 per cent doing so weekly or daily now, compared to just 34 per cent in 2006 (Household Financial Capability Survey, FSA)

People don’t think the media has helped them understand the crisis enough:

  • 45 per cent of those surveyed said they don’t understand the implications of the European crisis on their personal finances
  • 49 per cent said journalists do not tell them enough about how the crisis will affect them personally
  • 35 per cent say the news uses too much jargon that they don’t understand

The public don’t entirely trust the media:

  • 40 per cent of the British public says journalists are not independent enough from the businesses they cover
  • 40 per cent say journalists are forced by global media companies to act in unethical ways

But they don’t blame the media for causing or exacerbating the crisis:

  • 60 per cent say greed and speculation are the root cause of the crisis
  • 27 per cent say the reporting of the economic situation has made things worse
  • 1 per cent say reporters are the MOST to blame for the crisis (compared to 65 per cent for bankers)

Politicians are not trusted to solve the problem:

  • 65 per cent of those surveyed say government favours bankers rather than ordinary working families
  • 35 per cent of respondents said that none of the political parties had the best policy on the economy (vs 32 per cent for Conservatives and 22 per cent for Labour.
The poll was conducted by ICM on 4-6 November, using a sample of 2000 British respondents.

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