Study: Media brands Singaporeans trust on COVID-19 reporting

A quarter of Singaporeans distrust the media reporting on COVID-19, with one in twenty distrusting completely, according to a recent report by YouGov. The report also found that as a whole, seven in ten (71%) of Singaporeans say they trust media reporting on COVID-19, of which three in ten (63%) are "somewhat" trusting, and almost one in ten (8%) completely trust the media.

Additionally, YouGov found a difference in publications that Singaporeans consume, depending on the level of trust they have in local media. Using YouGov's BrandIndex Current Customer score, which looks at which media publications people have watched or read in the past 30 days, the report showed that those who trust media reporting on COVID-19 are most likely to watching Channel NewsAsia. This is followed by Channel 5, with its viewers making up 39% of respondents who say they trust the media, Channel 8 with 37%, and Channel U with 24%. Additionally, those who are unsure of their level of trust for the media are the most likely to not have watched live TV in the last 30 days.

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The report also said those who trust media reporting on COVID-19 are also more likely to read The Straits Times, with over half (56%) having done so in the past 30 days, compared to 48% of respondents who distrust the media. Also popular with those who trust the media are Channel NewsAsia, Today, and The New Paper. Amongst those who neither trust nor distrust the media, the most popular publication is Mothership (35% vs. 29% who trust media vs. 27% who don’t trust media).

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Meanwhile, the level of trust the respondents have for the media is also reflected in how well they think the government is handling the pandemic. Amongst those who trust the media, 19% think the government is doing "very well", and 68% think it is doing "fairly well". For those who do not trust media reporting on COVID-19, 10% think the government is doing "very well", and 49% think it is doing "fairly well". Conversely, amongst those who distrust the media, 12% think the government is doing "very badly". This is six times higher than those who said they trust the media.

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Earlier in May, The Straits Times cited a global report from Reuters that said more people are relying on news organisation for information about COVID-19 rather than social media, as news organisation are deemed more trustworthy. The survey, which spans across United States, United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Spain and Argentina, added that most of its respondents said they found content accessed via social media, video sites and messaging applications "much less trustworthy than information from news organisations" when it comes to information about COVID-19.

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