UK trusts CEOs more than its media

The British public has the lowest level of trust in the media compared to other countries, according to new research.

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But in contrast to the media sector, trust in UK CEOs is at its highest ever level, with 33% of respondents in Edelman’s 2011 Trust Barometer survey saying they were among the top credible people globally, up 11 points from the previous year. Two years ago CEOs were in the bottom two.

Edelman’s UK chairman Robert Phillips says: “This year’s Trust Barometer signals a clear return to the role of the CEO and other authority figures when seeking out information on a company.”

He adds this is driven by a “thirst for leadership, reassurance and a safe pair of hands” in a world post-economic financial crisis

The results of the survey also suggest that companies looking to re-earn trust when faced with a crisis should ensure their CEOs deliver transparent and clear communications frequently in order to alleviate public concerns.

But in a year where sections of the media were embroiled in phone hacking scandals, only 22% of UK respondents said they trusted the media “to do what is right”, a nine point drop on last year and lower than respondents from all the other 22 countries surveyed.

In addition 83% of people in the UK need to hear information more than three times before they believe it and 27% need to hear it six or more times, twice as many as two years ago.

The report says increased scepticism is due to a “jumbled media landscape” and the “domino effect of corporate and government crises” in key Western nations.

Phillips says the lack of trust in the media in the UK is a clear trend, identified over a number of years.

He adds: “The polarisation and popularisation of the media has not helped build trust and the phone hacking scandal is only likely to make matters much worse in 2011.”

The Edelman Trust Barometer 2011 surveyed 5,075 “informed” members of the public in 23 countries.

Technology is the most trusted industry sector for the third successive year at 74%, whereas financial services are the least trusted companies globally with only 21% responding that they have trust in them.

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