BBC winning battle for public trust

The Government is losing out to the BBC in the battle for public trust in the wake of the David Kelly affair, an opinion poll published today indicates.

The survey by NOP found that 54 per cent of respondents trusted the BBC more than the Government over claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Only 21 per cent said they had greater faith in the Government.

The poll, commissioned by public relations company Weber Shandwick, found that despite concerted criticism by government ministers, the public still places greater trust in the BBC than in other news organisations.

But the research makes sober reading for all broadcasters as it found that 51 per cent said that they trusted television and radio news less now than they did a year ago.

The poll found that the public was twice as likely to trust the BBC as the Government on the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

More than half (54 per cent) of the respondents said they were much more likely (28 per cent) or somewhat more likely (26 per cent) to believe the BBC on the issue of WMD. Only 21 per cent were much more likely (9 per cent) or somewhat more likely (12 per cent) to believe the Government.

Television was still easily the most trusted source for news. Fifty-one per cent said they favoured it as their main conduit for information, compared with 25 per cent who preferred radio and 12 per cent who trusted newspapers (12 per cent).

Respondents were also asked to state their preferred news broadcaster. Forty-four per cent said they trusted the BBC most; ITV News was trusted by 24 per cent; and 13 per cent put greatest faith in Sky News.

The NOP phone poll was conducted at the weekend among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents aged 15 and above.