Trust in Media in Iceland Dwindles Skip to content

Trust in Media in Iceland Dwindles

According to a new opinion poll conducted by market research company MMR, trust is the media in Iceland has decreased compared to a poll conducted in December 2008.

Overall, 44.1 percent of respondents declared that they do not trust the media, up from 31 percent in December, a significantly higher percentage than people who do trust the media, 4.1 percent, compared to 4.7 percent in December, Morgunbladid reports.

Icelandic newspapers. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“I believe this conclusion reflects the discussion in society after the banking collapse that the media have not done their duty,” said Birgir Gudmundsson, a lecturer in journalism at the social sciences and law department at the University of Akureyri.

National broadcaster RÚV remains the country’s most trusted media outlet, with 69.9 percent of respondents declaring their trust for its reporters, down from 76.7 percent in December, and only 8.0 percent not trusting RÚV, up from 5.6 percent in the last poll.

Morgunbladid and its online version follow suit with more than 50 percent of respondents declaring these media outlets trustworthy and 14 to 16.8 percent declaring them not trustworthy.

Gudmundsson said it is noteworthy that the ownership structure of media outlets influences the trust people place in them. “The media outlets that were owned by the ‘outvasion Vikings’ or wealthy individuals whose connections to the media were discussed have lost most trust.”

In December 49 percent of respondents said they had faith in the news department of the television station Stöd 2, which has now dropped to 36.4 percent. The same goes for daily newspaper Fréttabladid, which is owned by the same company as Stöd 2 and which trustworthiness dropped from 45.2 percent to 34.3 percent.

The least trusted media outlet in Iceland remains tabloid newspaper DV, in which 71.9 percent of respondents have little faith, up from 69.4 percent in December.

Gudmundsson pointed out that the public’s trust in all social institutions has dwindled since the crisis hit, including universities, parliament, courts and the church. “This conclusion indicates that people have generally become much more critical.”

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