The University of Oxford’s annual report on global media has found that a vast majority of Canadians don’t trust legacy news media.
According to the Digital News Report 2023 published in partnership with Reuters Institute, one of the most pressing concerns for the Canadian media landscape is the “more central” role taken by the federal government in regulating the news media.
The study surveyed trust in legacy media outlets including CBC, Global News, CTV News, CP24, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and others.
“Faced with rising costs and falling income, Canadian news media are restructuring and experimenting with new content and business models. The state’s role is becoming more central, from proposals to force Google, Facebook, and others to compensate publishers, to the future of the national broadcaster,” wrote analysts Colette Brin and Sebastien Charlton.
Trust has declined by 15% since 2016 when 55% of Canadians indicated overall trust in the news.
In 2023, Canadians reported an all-time low trust level of 40%. Additionally, trust in English speaking Canada was much lower (37%) than in French Canada (49%).
Additionally, the report found that attitudes towards publicly-funded outlets like the CBC “are more negative.”
“Trust in news overall is falling among English-speaking Canadians, placing them in the lower end of surveyed markets,” wrote Brin and Charlton.
“Attitudes towards publicly funded news services are also more negative than in past studies, especially in the West. However, Francophones maintain more positive views, with a slight bump this year for trust in news generally.”
Social media continues to be the top choice for Canadians when it comes to accessing news with 69% saying they stay up to date using online sources. Another 49% said they rely on TV to get their news like only 14% continue to rely on print media.
Only a small-subset of Canadians are choosing to pay for online news (11%). Podcast use has taken a substantial role in how people consume news with 33% of Canadians saying they have listened to a podcast in the past month.
“Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government proposed that Meta, Alphabet, and others should compensate publishers for linking to news stories, going further than the equivalent Australian News Bargaining Code which has reportedly led to US$134m per annum being paid to publishers by platforms,” the report noted.
“The Canadian model would include broadcasters and smaller publishers, and would also impose tougher penalties for non-compliance. In response Meta has said that being compelled to pay for content that it has not itself posted is not sustainable, especially when news is not the main reason for people using its platforms.”