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Canadians trust the media. South Koreans don’t

Man reads newspaper at a newstand in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

A new Pew survey on global attitudes toward the news media finds strikingly divergent attitudes among developed countries.

  • 78% of Canadians and 82% of Dutch people believe their country’s media does at least “somewhat well” at reporting the news accurately, for example.
  • Just 22% in Greece and 36% in South Korea do.

Why it matters: This question — essentially, do you trust what you see, hear and read about your government and the world around you — is of enormous significance. In the U.S. and much of the world, the answer for millions of people is “no.” In many countries, though, faith in the press remains high.

Key findings:

  • In many countries faith in the media depends on political views, nowhere more so than in the U.S. where just 21% of Republicans feel political issues are covered fairly, compared to 55% of Democrats. Big divides are also found in Israel, Sweden and Turkey.
  • In Russia, 79% believe major news events are covered well, but that number drops to 55% when people are asked whether coverage of different views on political issues is fair.
  • Canada vs. USA: 73% of Canadians believe political issues are covered fairly. Just 47% of Americans do. Mexico is in the middle, at 58%.
  • Most and least: At least 71% in every Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asian country sampled — many of which have questionable records on press freedom — believes news is covered accurately. None of the 6 South American countries sampled were above 58%.
  • European spectrum: Netherlands (82%), Sweden (78%), Germany (75%), U.K. (63%), France (62%), Hungary (54%), Spain (48%), Italy (45%), Poland (43%), Greece (22%).
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