Barometer Report: How Covid-19 Is Changing Our Trust In Media, Business & Government

4 Mins Read

There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has left an unimaginable impact, from the impact on human lives to the global economic fallout that has affected almost every single sector and industry. But another aspect that the coronavirus has influenced is public trust – in governments, businesses, media and organisations. 

This May, global communications firm Edelman released an update to their annual Edelman Trust Barometer report to take a look at how Covid-19 has affected trust across different institutions and industry sectors. This latest research was conducted in April this year, and involved more than 13,200 participants across 11 countries

What has emerged from the report is clear – the public are prioritising health and safety, and want all institutions to work together to shape and bring about a better future in a post-pandemic world

We take a deeper look into the report to highlight some of the key findings. 

Heightened awareness about social inequalities

The coronavirus pandemic has spotlighted the inequalities that exist between and within societies. 64% of respondents said that the pandemic has brought into the fore the gap between the rich and poor, and something had to be done to fairly distribute wealth in the future. 67% of those surveyed also believe that currently, people with less education, money and access to resources are being unfairly burdened from the impacts of the coronavirus. 

Read: The stark reality faced by the world’s displaced during Covid-19

UN estimates that the pandemic will push 34 million into poverty this year. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Calls grow for credible and unbiased journalism

People are looking for trustworthy news sources. When asked about how the media is currently performing on reporting on the crisis, less than half of the respondents (46%) said that the media is doing original and investigative reporting that successfully helps readers or viewers understand the full story. An even lower percentage (40%) said that the media is able to separate from politics and ideological biases in its reporting and information. 

Read: 2020 will be the year of media you can trust

Business and government need to work together for people and the planet

People believe that it is crucial for businesses and governments to partner up to shape a better future, with 68% expect CEOs to proactively engage with governments to regulate the way companies operate to protect people and the environment while giving them enough room and flexibility to still innovate. 

Read: Why major CEOs are pivoting to long-termism

Companies need to join the pandemic response to increase trust

The majority of respondents said that companies need to take demonstrable actions to help the coronavirus response and recovery if they are to maintain or increase trust of their business. In particular, 67% said that needed equipment should be donated to hospitals, healthcare and educators and 57% said that companies need to entirely redefine their purpose and goals. Overall, there is an urgent call for businesses to pivot towards solutions instead of selling. 

New Balance factories are now making face masks (Image Source: New Balance)

CEOs need to lead on global issues like climate change

One of the most interesting figures to emerge from the report is that 92% people now expect CEOs to voice their opinions and stand up for important global issues such as public health, automation, ethical uses of technology, income inequality and climate change. In fact, 73% of respondents said that company CEOs must take initiative on speaking out about the climate crisis, and 74% agreed that they should not wait for government action but should demonstrate leadership about it.

Read: Global opinion now sees climate crisis as serious as Covid-19

Government must prioritise health and safety

Right now, health and safety are the most important issues to the public, not the economy. Edelman’s survey finds that 67% believe the government’s top priority should be to save as many lives as possible, even if it comes at the expense of more economic damage and slow economic recovery in a post-coronavirus world. 

People believe the pandemic will bring about a better world

Despite the difficult times, there is optimism for positive change in the long-term as a result of the pandemic. 64% agreed that the pandemic will bring valuable innovations and change lives for the better in terms of how we live, work and treat the environment and each other as people

Lead image courtesy of Getty Images.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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