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Swedes value media most in Europe, but populists an exception

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Swedes value media most in Europe, but populists an exception
Swedish newspapers. Photo: Margareta Gustafsson Kubista / TT
11:22 CEST+02:00
Swedes are the most likely to place a high importance in the news media, according to a new study of major European countries.

The Pew Research Center's study aimed to gauge public opinion on the news media, focusing on eight European countries: Sweden, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK, France, and Italy. 

In the study, 95 percent of Swedes responded that they thought the news media are important - the highest of the countries surveyed. 

And of these Swedish respondents, 61 percent said they thought the news was "very important". This figure was just 28 percent for the French on the topic of their own national media, by comparison. 

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Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/TT

However, when it came to levels of trust in the media, Sweden wasn't nearly at the top. In fact, just 12 percent of Swedes said they trusted the media "a lot", compared to 20 percent in Germany and 18 percent in the Netherlands.

It was the Netherlands that topped the table in media trust overall, with 67 percent of Dutch respondents saying they trusted the news, compared to 64 percent for Sweden and Germany. This compared with 32 percent for the UK, 31 percent for Spain, and 29 percent for Italy. 

The Pew study also focused on perceptions of the media according to political leanings. 

It found a divide in media trust when comparing the view of those on the left and right, but not nearly as much as the divides between those with and without populist leanings. 

In Sweden, 61 percent of people on the right said they trust the news media at least somewhat, compared to 72 percent for the left. 

By contrast, 49 percent of Swedes with populist views said they trusted the media at least somewhat, compared to 74 percent for those with non-populist views. 

That marks a difference of 25 points, only exceeded by Germany where 47 percent of people with populist leanings trusted the media, compared to 78 percent of those on the non-populist side.

The news outlets most Swedes cited as their main source is SVT/Radio (39 percent), followed by 17 percent for the Aftonbladet tabloid, and 10 percent for TV4.

Only one source is more popular among a country's domestic population than SVT is with the Swedes: the BBC is rated as the main news source by 48 percent of Brits.

The full Pew Research Center study on public attitudes towards the news media can be read here.

 

 

 

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