Media Trust in Europe

Despite the perception that trust in media is declining in Europe, the latest research says otherwise. In this paper, author Jesper Strömbäck argues for the importance of understanding the actual trends in news media trust, in a time when liberal democracies are heavily tested.

Contrary to the widespread perception that European media trust is experiencing a crisis, Strömbäck shows that trust is in fact either fluctuating or increasing. In clarifying the actual status of media trust in Europe, Strömbäck offers several takeaways:
• Sociodemographic facts cannot explain media trust
• Political trust and media trust are linked
• Political interest is usually associated with greater media trust
• Citizens with low media trust use alternative media more
• Far-right sympathizers have less trust in mainstream news media

Furthermore, Strömbäck emphasizes the importance of policymakers safeguarding free and independent media as a way to tackle many of the major threats contemporary democracies are facing today.

About the author

Jesper Strömbäck is professor in journalism and political communication at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg. Among other things, he has been Associate Editor of the Journal of Communication and Political Communication, and chair of the Political Communication Division within the International Communication Association. He has published more than 200 journal articles, book chapters, monographs and edited books.

About the editor

Markus Barnevik Olsson is a Climate & Trust Coordinator at Fores and holds a BSc in Political Science from Lund University.

About ELF

The European Liberal Forum (ELF) is the official political foundation of the European Liberal Party, the ALDE Party. Together with 46 member organisations, we work all over Europe to bring new ideas into the political debate, to provide a platform for discussion, and to empower citizens to make their voices heard.

ELF was founded in 2007 to strengthen the liberal and democrat movement in Europe. Our work is guided by liberal ideals and a belief in the principle of freedom. We stand for a future-oriented Europe that offers opportunities for every citizen. ELF is engaged on all political levels, from the local to the European.

We bring together a diverse network of national foundations, think tanks and other experts. At the same time, we are also close to, but independent from, the ALDE Party and other Liberal actors in Europe. In this role, our forum serves as a space for an open and informed exchange of views between a wide range of different actors.

About Tankesmedjan Fores

Fores – Forum for reforms, entrepreneurship and sustainability – is the green and liberal think tank based in Sweden. With one foot in academia and the other in the public debate, Fores works every day towards solutions and policies that strengthen the liberal democracy. Through our three work groups we seek scientifically based, forward-looking policies on Growth, Security and Trust. For more information, visit