Understanding the Link Between Public Confidence in the Media and Media Freedom


Lee B. Becker, Cynthia English and Tudor Vlad


This paper examines the relationship between elites and public assessments of the media using a unique data source, the Gallup World Poll. The Gallup World Poll is conducted in more than 150 countries worldwide, representing more than 99% of the world's population. In 2010, Gallup asked adults in 111 countries if the media in their country had a lot of freedom, or not, and whether they had confidence in the quality and integrity of the media in their country. The media freedom was new to the 2010 surveys, while the confidence measure has been used back through 2005. The data show that elites and the public largely agree on their assessment of media freedom. Further analysis shows that public assessment of media freedom is different from the public's sense of confidence in the media.

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