The Australian media landscape has gone through large-scale shifts in recent years including the consolidations of some major news networks, and in the current climate, more changes are likely to come.
New research commissioned by leading international News Broadcaster, BBC Global News, provides valuable insight into the population’s sentiment towards local media content and the news that’s available to them.
The study reveals that 74 per cent of Australians believe that there has been an increase in agenda-driven news over the last five years, with 59 per cent now worried that this will lead to a loss of impartial journalism and credible news.
A stark contrast between what Australians want, and what they feel they are accessing, is also evident in the data.
Roughly 87 per cent of Australians think it is the media companies’ responsibility to give them news they can trust, yet 64 per cent feel news organizations are more concerned with their own commercial objectives than they are with providing fair and impartial news to their audiences.
BBC World Service global editorial director Jamie Angus said: “Now more than ever, content is being influenced by various agendas, which isn’t just an issue in Australia, however a high percentage of Australians (68 per cent) believe that some news organizations’ agendas are driven by governments, or commercial owners resulting in biased news coverage.
“This perception is driving concern among the public as to where they can obtain balanced, impartial news.
“The independence of our editorial at the BBC is critical and is embodied in our purpose and values, demonstrated by the separation of our editorial and commercial teams.
“It is imperative that Australian audiences continue to have access to trusted news sources which are vital to informed decision making and civil rest.”
Interestingly, whilst the majority of all gender, state and age groups surveyed stated that there’s been an increase in agenda-driven news sites in recent times, 42 per cent also admitted that they weren’t always aware when a news organization had an agenda, further supporting the need for independent and diverse options to be made widely available.
BBC Australia online editor Jay Savage added: “Audiences shouldn’t have to feel ‘worried’ or ‘unsure’ about their news providers, which is what this research clearly reveals.
“The fact that 42 per cent state that reporting seems biased to one side of the story, and 25 per cent believe that reporting seems more sensational than factual, shows Australians do not fully trust the credibility of some of the content that is being offered to them.”
“With younger audiences in particular growing more and more skeptical of media content, it’s essential that news providers focus on offering trustworthy stories, through high-quality, diverse journalism.”