Survey: ERR most trusted news source during emergency situation

ERR Logo.
ERR Logo. Source: Kairit Leibold/ERR

ERR television channel ETV is the most trusted media channel, according to a recent survey. The poll, conducted by Kantar Emor, focuses on the ongoing emergency situation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and saw ERR's online portals coming in second place in perceptions of reliability, followed by daily Postimees and portal Delfi.

ETV was cited by 45 percent of residents in Estonia, and 60 percent of ethnic Estonians, who responded to the survey, conducted by pollsters Kantar Emor, as the most reliable media channel.

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they found ERR's online Estonian news most reliable.

Among non-ethnic Estonians, 37 percent of respondents said they found Russian-language TV channel ETV+ reliable.

This compared with 15 percent who found Russian Federation channel RTR to be most reliable. Another Russian TV channel, PBK, was cited the most trustowrthy by 14 percent of respondents in the Kantar Emor survey.

Daily Postimees and its website came in second place with 25 percent of respondents finding it the most trustworthy media channel, though the figures here were roughly equal between Estonian and non-Estonian respondents.

Online news portal Delfi saw 22 percent of respondents overall finding it most trustworthy, though the breakdown into ethnic groups found a higher number of non-ethnic Estonians, at 28 percent, who saw it as most reliable – i.e. higher than Postimees – and a lower figure for ethnic Estonians, at 18.4 percent of respondents.

Kristiina Kruus, strategic consultant at Kantar Emor, said that the results from the 628 people who took part in the survey somewhat undeservedly obscured results for channels which broadcast in both languages.

"The non-Estonian speakers who took part in the survey gave a response for [ERR radio channel] Vikerraadio of almost zero, since they are not listeners - they have their own [ERR Russian-language channel] Radio 4," Kruuse said. 

"However, if only Estonians' assessment of Vikerraadio's credibility is taken into account, Vikerraadio comes in third place after ERR online and ahead of Postimees," she said.

Kruuse also noted the results' significance in the light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the government's emergency situation declared in response to that, and the need to remain informed about these topics.

"In times of crisis, people need truthful information, and now we can see that they know very well where to get it," Kruuse said.

Kantar Emor also polled on who found social media the most reliable source of information – which only 3.7 percent did, said Kruuse. 

On the other hand, 8.5 percent of respondents said they did not trust any media whatsoever.

Entertainment still a factor, as well as trustworthiness

Trustworthiness also does not equate to frequency of use, the survey found.

Over 70 percent said they had visited Delfi's portal in the week preceding the survey, with 58 percent following Postimees, 53 percent ETV, 42 percent ERR's online portals and 41 percent social media.

Among ethnic Estonian respondents, was ETV (72 percent) was most popular in the week leading up to the survey date, while among non-Estonians, the most popular was Delfi, at 82 percent, followed by ETV +, on 58 percent, though the latter figure was by some margin the highest for any Russian-language TV channel, the survey said.

Kruuse noted media consumption is shaped not only by the reliability of information channels, but in times of crisis, the need for entertainment still remains. 

"So far as entertainment goes, reliability may not be the most important factor," she said.

"However, the same example of ETV + certainly confirms that nowadays, eyes and the fingers that find the TV remote control or computer keyboard toxic are still being directed more where people find reliable information."

Kantar Emor launched its "emergency situation radar", which will continue to monitor the information, attitudes and behavior of Estonian residents on a weekly basis during the crisis, last week.

Last week's survey polled 628 Estonian residents in the period March 23-25.

Public broadcaster ERR comprises three TV channels, two in Estonian and one in Russian, five radio channels (including one in Russian) and its online portals in Estonian, Russian and English.

Postimees is owned by the Postimees Group which also owns several regional dailies, radio stations and a commercial TV channel, TV2.

Delfi is owned by Ekspress Grupp, which also publishes weeklies Eesti Ekspress and Maaleht, as well as daily Eesti Päevaleht.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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