Lack of regulation and “immoral behaviour” has led to a drop in the British public’s trust of the media, a study has revealed.
The 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that after rallying last year from an all-time low of 22 per cent of respondents trusting the media to 47 per cent, trust has fallen back to 41 per cent. Of those who said their trust in the media was lower than it was a year ago, 60 per cent said their change of view was down to either immoral behaviour or a lack of regulation.
The figures follow the recent wrangling between the UK government and the press industry over regulation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics. The inquiry was prompted by the phone-hacking scandal and widespread allegations of improper conduct by the press in order to get stories.
Former editors of the News of the World, Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, are currently standing trial for alleged phone-hacking offences in one of the most high profile media cases the UK has ever seen.
Earlier this month, a press freedom mission from the World Association of Newspapers (WAN-IFRA) was sent to the UK over concerns about the government’s Royal Charter on press regulation and the treatment of the Guardian newspaper following the Edward Snowden revelations.
Meanwhile, in the business sectors the study pointed to relatively high trust in the technology industry at 79 per cent, ranking higher than the media and banking industries, while the energy sector dropped six points to 32 per cent become the least-trusted industry in the UK.
Edelman president and CEO Richard Edelman said: “People trust business to innovate, unite and deliver across borders in a way that government can’t.
“That trust comes with the expectation and responsibility to maintain it. Therefore, CEOs must become chief engagement officers in order to educate the public about the economic, societal, political and environmental context in which their business operates.”
Trust in Prime Minister David Cameron was only marginally higher than the energy sector at 33 per cent, while trust in Labour opposition leader Ed Miliband dropped from 41 per cent to equal his rival at 33 per cent.
Overall in the UK, trust in government fell from 47 per cent in 2013 to 42 per cent, while trust in business remained stable at 56 per cent.