May 28, 2023

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Television, the main source of news, Europeans trust traditional media

In general, public radio and television stations are the sources of news in which citizens have the greatest confidence in the Union (49%); the following are the print media (39%) and private radio and television stations (27%)

The Eurobarometer analyzes people’s media skills, the trust they have in various sources of information, but also their attitudes towards the threat of disinformation.

The news that is of the greatest interest to citizens are national political topics, say 50% of the respondents. European and international issues (46%) are in third place, with a similar percentage to that of local news (47%).

72% of the respondents remember that they recently read, saw or listened to a news about the European Union, either in the press, on the Internet, on TV or on the radio. 57% of them have recently read, seen or heard information about the European Parliament.

The percentage of people who remember the news about the Union varies between 57% in France and 90% in Romania. Regarding the news about the European Parliament, the percentage varies between 39% in France and 85% in Malta.

Television dominates with 75% and is the main source of news, especially for Europeans over the age of 55. In second place, with a significantly smaller percentage, are online news platforms (43%), radio (39%) and social communication platforms and blogs (26%). The print media comes in fifth place: one in five respondents (21%) mention that newspapers and magazines are their main source of news. On the other hand, young respondents use social media platforms and blogs for news in a much higher proportion (46% of people aged between 15 and 24 compared to 15% of people over 55).

Although traditional news sources, especially television, are important, 88% of respondents consult at least some news online on their phone, computer or laptop. 43% of respondents use the news source’s website (eg a newspaper’s website) to access news online, and 31% read articles or posts that appear online on their social networks. Accessing news posts on their social media platforms is even more important to young people (43% of 15- to 24-year-olds vs. 24% of over-55s).

Viewing paid online news continues to be an exception: 70% of those who access news online only view news or news services available for free.

European citizens trust traditional media (radio, television or print media), including their online presence, more than online news platforms and online social communication channels. 49% of respondents expect public radio or television stations to provide them with reliable news, regardless of the chosen format (traditional or online). The next source of news in the order of preferences is the written press, with 39%. On the other hand, private television and radio stations are considered by 27% of respondents as reliable news sources. Poland is a special case: it is the only country where the population considers private radio and television stations to be the most trusted source of news. Hungarian respondents show an even more radical distrust of traditional news sources in general. They consider another source of news to be the most trusted: “the people, groups or friends you follow on social media platforms.”

The importance of trust is also highlighted when respondents are asked what would convince them to open an online news article. 54% feel motivated if the headline matches their interests, and 37% say it’s important to trust the news service that posts the article.

More than a quarter of the respondents (28%) believe that, in the last seven days, they were exposed “often” or “very often” to misinformation and fake news. The figure reaches maximum levels in Bulgaria, with 55% of respondents, and the Netherlands is at the opposite pole: only 3% of respondents consider that they were exposed “very often” and 9% “often” to misinformation or fake news.

The majority of respondents are confident that they can recognize disinformation and fake news: 12% feel “very confident” and 52% “somewhat confident”. The level of confidence in the ability to distinguish between true and false news decreases with age and increases with the level of education.

The Flash Eurobarometer presents an analysis of the media sources used by citizens and their media habits. He considers both traditional and online media. Ipsos European Public Affairs contacted a representative sample of citizens of the European Union, aged at least 15, in each of the 27 countries of the European Union. Between April 26 and May 11, 52,347 interviews were conducted using computer-assisted online interviewing (CAWI) technology, using Ipsos online groups and their network of partners.

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