Public trust in media rises but most think government is lying

Public trust in the Australian media has increased significantly, while trust in the Government has fallen, a survey published today by PR agency Edelman suggests.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, confidence in the media to do the right thing has risen from 32% last year to 43% this year. At the same time, trust in the Government to do the right thing has declined from 52% to 47%.

Whereas a year ago, the gap between public trust in media and government was 20%, it is now just 4%.

trust_institutions_edelman_barometer_2012Non governmental organisations such as charities and campaign groups remain the most trusted organisations with 65% saying they either trust them or trust them “a great deal”.

Business also scored relatively highly, at 57%.

Meanwhile, traditional media remains the most trusted information source, with 32% saying they trust it “a great deal”. Online was just behind at 30% while social media was on 13%.


Edelman’s Trust Barometer began in previous years with a survey of what it describes as 200 of  “the informed public” – high income, college-educate Australians who read or watch business/news media and follow public policy issues – whose responses are featured in the tables above. This year, the survey also included 1000 of the general Aussie population.

Trust in the government from the wider sample was poor too.

While 70% said it was important that the government communicated honestly and frequently, only 13% felt that it did so.

And while 68% agreed that the government needed to have transparent and open practices, only 12% thinks it does so.


In another question the public was asked: “How much do you trust your government leaders to tell the truth, regardless of how complex or unpopular it is?” 60% said they did not trust them.

Edelman CEO Michelle Hutton said: “There is a complete misalignment between the public’s expectations of government and what they think is actually being delivered.”


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