Media industry losing credibility with public

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 January, 2011, 12:00am

Hong Kong residents generally believe less of what they read, hear and see in local news media, a Chinese University survey shows.

Rated 6.85 out of 10, the South China Morning Post was still the most credible newspaper in the city. But RTHK replaced the Post as the most credible local media organisation with a score of 6.95.

The entire media industry was given an overall score of 6.36 in 2010, down 7 per cent. The average rating was 6.04, down 8 per cent, with all media recording a drop in credibility.

The survey, conducted by the university's School of Journalism and Communication, randomly polled 1,206 residents over the phone in October and November and asked them to rate the credibility of 25 media organisations on a scale of one to 10.

Director of the school, Professor Clement So York-kee, said it was 'weird' to see a drop in the ratings.

'There was no particular incident last year that cast any negative image on individual media,' he said, ruling out the possibility of a sampling error.

He attributed the decline to changing habits in receiving information. 'There are more and more channels to obtain information, like Facebook and other social media. People use less traditional media and they appear to be less familiar with them, which in turn affected the ratings,' he said. 'We need to wait for one to two more years to see if it is only a random fluctuation,' he said.

Electronic media had an average rating of 6.29 and for print it was 5.92.

The most credible electronic media were RTHK, TVB and Commercial Radio, while the most credible newspapers were the South China Morning Post, MingPao and Economic Times. Apple Daily, Ta Kung Pao and The Sun came last.

Mak Yin-ting, who chairs the Hong Kong Journalists Association, said: 'Staff turnover in media is very high because of remuneration problems. Many experienced journalists have left the industry. This affects the quality of news, too.'