ATHENS – With most Greek newspaper and electronic media having admitted political biases, only a third of people who watch or read news reports trust them, ranking the country 36th out of 38th in that category shown in a survey.
Kathimerini, one of the most influential papers and media outlets, was ranked first in terms of trust, according to the Digital News Report, a major research project from the Reuters Institute at Oxford University based on interviews with 75,000 people in all the countries in the poll.
“Decades of corruption, political and business undue influences, and their targeting by left- and right-wing populist parties have resulted in the media being widely distrusted by Greeks,” according to the report, said the newspaper.
The same survey shows Greeks use on average more than five online news sources per week, which is said to be the second highest among 38 markets.
“While this finding reflects plurality in news selection, in the long-tail list of the most visited websites are a number of news websites or blogs that regularly engage in dangerous conspiracy theories,” the report added.
Many papers are openly aligned with political parties or groups and TV networks have long been accused of backing governments in return for lucrative advertising contracts, undermining the credibility of news..
The researchers said that more people are going to social media platforms for information, distrusting what they read or hear from mainstream news sites during a time when politicians seeking favor are branding unfavorable coverage as “fake news,” picking up on US President Donald Trump’s favorite strategy trying to discredit critics.
The number of news brands is related to strong dependence among Greeks on social media platforms for news and information, “a behavior that has been linked to incidental exposure to news sources,” the report added.
More than two-thirds (67 percent) of Greeks use social media as a source of news, while 20 percent of Greeks online (and 32 percent of those under 35) claim that social media are their key source of news, the report shows.
According to the survey, 58 percent of Greeks use Facebook to share and discuss news compared to 36 using YouTube (36 percent) and various messaging applications including Messenger (25 percent) and Viber (17 percent.) Only 7 percent pay for online news, the report said.