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A majority of Australians are losing trust in the news, and are worried about the growing influence of commercial advertisers over content, according to an Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) report and survey released today.

The media regulator found that most Australians question the impartiality of news sources. For example, 85% of respondents to ACMA’s survey were concerned news is reported from a particular point of view rather than being balanced or impartial, while 79% said they had difficulty telling whether a journalist was expressing an opinion or a fact.

One source of this mistrust, according to the report, could be the influence of commercial relationships on news content. A majority of survey respondents (58%) felt that there is now more commercial influence over news than three years ago. 77% expressed concern over undisclosed paid content.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said amid ongoing debate about the accuracy of online content, issues with broadcast news also needed to be considered.

“There is ongoing debate about the credibility of news delivered online. But TV and radio remain an important source of news for the majority of Australians. If audiences have concerns about the credibility of news on TV and radio, then these need to be addressed by industry.”

Peter Fray

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