Study finds Czechs’ trust in media has fallen sharply
A new study conducted by polling firm CVVM in conjunction with Masaryk University has found a large decline in trust in the media from the Czech population. From roughly two-thirds trust in the media a decade ago, the data shows that today the number is reversed, with two-thirds distrusting the media. I spoke with independent journalist and former dissident Jan Urban, and began by asking him for his take on the decline:
One of the questions asked in the study was: what is your greatest perceived negative trait of journalists? Number one was that they were tabloid-oriented; number two was that they were corruptible; and number three was that they were not independent. So does Czech journalism face serious ethical questions?
“Certainly Czech journalists are not doing enough to fend-off these kinds of perceptions. The situation is made even more complicated with the issue of ownership of private television channels, and also the fact that for the last two years two of the country’s largest dallies have been owned by the deputy prime minister [MAFRA, publisher of titles including Lidové noviny and Mladá fronta dnes is owned by Agrofert, which was technically placed in a trust by ANO leader Andrej Babiš in February in order to comply with new conflict of interest laws].”
Do you think, then, that what could be described as the “Andrej Babiš effect” has had a direct negative impact on the Czech public’s trust in the media?