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Report “UK public opinion polarised on news coverage of government coronavirus response and concern over misinformation”

Image is illustrative. Photo by Filip Mishevski on Unsplash

The report examines people’s attitudes towards how news organisations, government and other institutions are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in the UK based on a survey fielded from 24 April to 28 April 2020. Among its highlights:

  • UK public opinion is split three ways between those who think the news media have not been critical enough, has been covered fairly, and those who think the coverage has been too critical.
  • judgement of news coverage is polarised along political lines
  • about a third of respondents say they are very or extremely concerned about false or misleading information about coronavirus from the UK government, individual politicians, news organisations and from ordinary people whom they do not know personally.
  • When asked to compare the UK government’s response to most other developed countries, almost half say it has been worse, around a third about the same, and 12% say better.
  • most respondents think that the current approach has found the right balance between protecting the economy and protecting people from coronavirus.

The report is the second in a series of ten Factsheets included in the UK COVID-19 news and information project that analyses how the British public navigates information and misinformation about coronavirus and about how the government and other institutions are responding to the pandemic.

Authors

Reuters Institute

University of Oxford

Photo of Richard Fletcher
Richard Fletcher

Richard Fletcher is a Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and leads the Institute’s research team.

Photo of Antonis Kalogeropoulos
Antonis Kalogeropoulos

Antonis Kalogeropoulos is a Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool and a Research Associate of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Photo of Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is the Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and Professor of Political Communication at the University of Oxford.