More than half (58%) of UK adults say their trust in the country’s papers has been reduced by the scandal, according to a PBS and YouGov study. About one in two (51%) respondents also say the incident has reduced their level of trust in media as a whole.
“Traditional media”, such as TV and radio, were found to be the most trusted outlets in the UK, with around two thirds (65% for TV and 58% for radio) of people agreeing this to be the case, despite these channels now being more scrutinised for accurate reporting than ever before.
Digital media such as social networks and blogs were found to be the least trusted media and are relied upon more for opinion and gossip than factual reporting, although 55% say they believe websites were trustworthy.
The majority of adults also feel the media frequently lies to its audience and that content has been “dumbed down” in recent years.
The US public trusts their newspaper industry more than any other media business, although 27% said the phone hacking scandal reduced their trust in UK papers.
Revelations about the questionable journalistic tactics some reporters and executives used at the News of the World to obtain their stories rocked the country and the media industry when they were revealed in July.
The scandal led to the closure of the paper, parliamentary select committee hearings about the affair and several resignations, including owner company News International’s former chief executive Rebekah Brooks.
Lord Justice Leveson begins his inquiry today (14 November) into the role of newspapers and the way they are regulated, which was triggered by the News of the World incident. The inquiry is expected to last a year.