Trust in the city’s media has dropped to a 10-year low according to a poll by the University of Hong Kong released on Tuesday.
The overall credibility rating for local news media was 5.66 out of 10 – a drop from 5.87 in the last poll in April and the lowest since October 2006, when an overall score of 5.6 was recorded.
The survey interviewed 1,012 people and was conducted between September 19 and 22. That was about the same time that the controversy over government proposals for a Wang Chau housing project made headlines.
Respondents were asked to rate the credibility of local media on a scale of zero to 10, and about their views on the media’s performance.
Of the respondents, 32 per cent believed the news media had been “responsible in their reporting”, down from 35 per cent in April. And 35 per cent thought the media had been “irresponsible”, up from 29 per cent last time.
Some 52 per cent said local media had “abused the freedom of the press”, but 49 per cent said the media had “scruples” when criticising the government. Some 49 per cent also believed the media practised “self-censorship”.
Television remained the main source of news, with almost 75 per cent saying they mainly obtained news information from TV. But only 33 per cent of respondents regarded television as “the most trustworthy source”. Only 17 per cent saw the internet as the most trustworthy, while newspapers and radio scored 15 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Professor Francis Lee Lap-fung, of Chinese University’s school of journalism and communication, said a lot of those results might be because so many people get their news from TVB, which has had some criticism lately. In one of the latest cases, last month the station was criticised for omitting an item about several pan-democratic candidates pulling out from the Legislative Council elections.