Maltese public broadcaster among least trusted in Europe

Maltese citizens are the third least likely in the European Union to trust public television, according to a Eurobarometer survey held in October 

Public TV and radio remain the most trusted news sources in Malta, as in all EU member states except Hungary and Poland. Despite this, the Maltese, along with the Greeks, rank as the third least likely to trust their public broadcaster.

This emerges from a Eurobarometer survey conducted in October which included 500 Maltese respondents.

In the EU, 48% trust their national broadcaster, whereas in Malta, only 35% express confidence in the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The only countries with lower trust levels in their public broadcaster are Poland (26%) and Hungary (25%), both of which have faced repeated EU scrutiny over the past decade on rule of law and democracy issues.

The Finns (71%), followed by the Portuguese (65%) and the Swedes (63%), exhibit the highest levels of trust in their national broadcasters.

The written press, including its online derivatives, is considered the second most trusted source of news in both Malta (35%) and the European Union as a whole (38%). In Malta, the written press is less trusted than in 15 other EU member states but more trusted than in 11 others. It is most trusted in Finland and the Netherlands (56%) and least trusted in Poland and the Czechia (21%).

Private TV, which in Malta includes two stations owned by political parties, is only trusted by 26% of Maltese, three points less than the EU average.

A notable 25% of Maltese express trust in online portals and blogs, more than double the percentage in the EU. Hungarians are the most likely to trust this news source (28%).

Sixteen percent of Maltese trust information from social media friends and groups they follow. Social media groups are more trusted in Poland (29%) and Hungary (28%).

How the Maltese access their news

Despite higher trust in public TV and radio and the written press, most Maltese (70%) access their news through social media, almost double the EU average (37%). Maltese, along with Cypriots, are the most likely in Europe to obtain news from social media.

While 49% access news through TV and an equal portion through online press, only 21% access news from the radio, making Maltese the least likely in Europe to use this medium. They also rank among the least likely to get news from printed media (11%).

A survey reveals a digital generational divide in news consumption, with 86% of Maltese under 24 years old accessing news from social media platforms, while 62% of those aged over 55 prefer TV.

The survey also indicates that 28% of Maltese actively search for news several times a day, with an additional 36% following the news once a day. Only 8% of Maltese actively avoid the news.

When asked about their preferred method of accessing news, 52% of Maltese said they go directly to the website or application of the news source, while 48% read articles appearing on their social media feed.

Facebook rules in Malta

The survey reveals that 81% of Maltese used Facebook in the previous seven days, compared to 63% of respondents in all EU member states. Hungarians (83%) are the most avid Facebook users, followed by the Maltese, Bulgarians, and Lithuanians (81%). In contrast, only 55% of Austrians used Facebook in the week preceding the survey.

Maltese citizens are more likely to use Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and LinkedIn than most other Europeans. Usage of YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram is similar to that in most EU member states, while the Maltese are less likely to use X, Telegram, Snapchat, and Viber.

42% follow Influencers

Forty-two percent of Maltese use social media to follow influencers or content creators, in contrast to just 37% of respondents in all EU member states. This figure varies between 29% in Belgium and 49% in Finland and Ireland.

Most Maltese follow influencers for product reviews (37%) and insights into their personal lives (35%). The Maltese are significantly less likely than most other Europeans to follow them for tutorials or for social and political commentary.