Most Britons Do Not Trust BBC Journalists to Tell the Truth

The broadcaster's exit poll results projected on the outside of the BBC building in London shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party predicted to win 368 seats and a majority as the ballots begin to be counted in the general election on December 12, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN …
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Most Britons do not trust BBC journalists to tell the truth, according to a YouGov poll.

In total, 44 per cent of Britons polled between December 1st and 2nd trust BBC [Their London headquarters pictured above on election night] journalists to tell the truth (eight per cent “a great deal” and 36 per cent “a fair amount”) — down seven per cent from mid-October. This compares to a total of 48 per cent who do not trust the BBC. One-in-five Britons do not trust the broadcaster “at all”.

The YouGov poll published on Monday also revealed that Leave voters trusted the broadcaster considerably less than Remainers, with 40 per cent of those who voted leave saying they trusted the BBC compared to 54 per cent of Remain voters.

The findings follow results of another survey two weeks ago by polling firm Norstat which found two-thirds of Britons think the broadcaster is biased. In 2018, the think tank Civitas found that pro-Brexit opinions had been suppressed over the years on BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme, the Today show. A report by News-Watch the year before came to the same conclusion.

The broadcaster has come under criticism for the television licence, a tax on anyone with a television that funds the BBC. Before the election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said that his future government would look into how the BBC was payed for.

“The system by funding out of what is effectively a general tax on everybody who has a TV, it bears reflection, let me put it that way. How long can you justify a system whereby everybody who has a TV has to pay to fund a particular set of channels?” Prime Minister Johnson had said last week.

The government confirmed on Sunday that it was looking into decriminalising non-licence fee payment. Some 180,000 people are prosecuted for non-payment every year, with The Times reporting that most found guilty are fined but some are handed prison sentences.

“That is something the prime minister has said we will look at and has instructed people to look at that,” Treasury secretary Rishi Sunak told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

In response to the possibility of decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee, the BBC complained that it would have “£200 million less to spend on programmes and services our audiences love”, with the spokesman continuing that the current system is “fair and value for money to licence fee payers”.

In October, the BBC reported that for the first time fewer than half of young Britons consider the BBC to be part of their regular media intake, with the watchdog Ofcom warning that as a result the “BBC may not be sustainable in its current form”.

Even the halls of power are tuning out, with The Times reporting that Downing Street is boycotting the Today programme, which it has dismissed as “irrelevant”.

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