Media News

WDR Survey: Trust in the German media has increased

Source: ARD Presse, infratest dimap

Trust in media coverage increased noticeably in 2020. This is the result of a representative survey, which was carried out in September and October by Infratest Dimap on behalf of the WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk).

The main findings:

-  Germans rate the corona reporting in public service media and in daily newspapers predominantly positive.
-  Accordingly, more than two thirds of the respondents consider media coverage in Germany to be trustworthy.
-  Public service media record particularly high trust values ​​of more than 80 percent. German daily newspapers are also rated as credible by 74 percent of those surveyed, while tabloid and social media are clearly rated as not very credible. 

The quality of the information offered by the media in Germany continues to be rated as predominantly positive

A large majority rates the information offered by the media as being of high or very high quality (90 percent, +/-0 compared to November 2019). In fact, more citizens (67 percent, +6) are persuaded of the credibility of the media as a whole than last year.

More than 80 percent consider public service broadcasting indispensable.

Public service broadcasting scores highly on credibility and as the most frequently used provider of information regarding political issues.

In 2020, public service broadcasting and daily newspapers are still considered to be most credible. Broad majorities consider public radio (81%, +3) and television (79%, +5) to be reliable. Public broadcasting therefore continues to enjoy a significantly higher level of trust than private broadcasting.

Almost two thirds of the citizens (63 percent, +4) rate the online offerings of public service broadcasters as reliable. Among the younger citizens in the country aged up to 34 years, who have a particular affinity for the Internet, around 80 percent consider online offerings of public service broadcasters to be particularly reliable. Among 35 to 49 year-olds, it is nevertheless 71 percent. Public service television ranks first by far ahead of the daily newspapers when it comes to using media for information relating to politics. This applies to all age and educational groups.

The public media and daily newspapers play a leading role in reporting on the Corona pandemic.

82 percent of Germans rate the quality of reporting on this topic by public television as very good or good. More than half (56 percent) consider the Internet offerings linked to COVID-19 of the public service broadcasters to be of high quality. Daily newspapers (68 percent) also enjoy a good reputation when it comes to high-quality information about COVID-19.

The quality of public service reporting on the Corona pandemic is rated less highly by citizens for whom the state measures to combat the Corona pandemic go too far or who are generally dissatisfied with the functioning of democracy in Germany, including a particularly large number of citizens in Eastern Germany. However, regardless of the context, they are fundamentally more sceptical about the reporting of the public media and more often suspect political influence on the reporting. The majority of the population (60 percent), does not believe that the German media are prescribed by the state and government what they should report on.

More than 80 percent consider public service broadcasting to be indispensable

The majority of citizens agree that public service broadcasting is indispensable. AfD supporters are an exception and they are divided in their opinion about this topic.


More information about the survey here (in German)