At the Channel 10 news studio.
At the Channel 10 news studio. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Public trust in the media, as measured by the Israel Democracy Institute's annual Democracy Index, dropped by 5.5 percent in the past year, from 51.8 percent in 2011 to 46.3 percent in 2012. That puts it second from the bottom of the list of institutions respondents said they trusted. The survey was conducted by Prof. Tamar Hermann.

The decline in trust in the media ran counter to the trend in this year's survey, which saw a rise in public trust in most public institutions.

With the exception of 2011 public trust in the media has dropped every year since 2006. It reached a nadir of 33.8 percent in 2010.

Respondents who self-identified as right-wing were least likely to trust the media. Only 34.9 percent said they did, compared to 54.8 percent of centrists and 58.7 percent of self-described leftists. But all three groups placed the media next to last in their ranking.

Israeli Jews as a whole ranked the media ninth, while for Israeli Arabs the media came in third. Of Jewish respondents, 43.5 percent reported trusting the media to a large extent (12.2 percent ) or to some extent (31.3 percent ). For Arab respondents, a combined 59.7 percent said they trusted the media to a large extent or to some extent (22.5 percent and 37.2 percent, respectively ).

Jewish respondents who described themselves as secular Israelis ranked the media seventh, above the prime minister, the Knesset and political parties. Both those who self-identified as traditional but religiously nonobservant or as ultra-Orthodox Zionist ranked the media as next to last among the public institutions they trust. Traditional-observant, religious and ultra-Orthodox Jews ranked it last.

Respondents who said they took part in last year's social protests were slightly more trusting of the media, which was defined as including blogs and social networking sites as well as radio, television and the press. Among these respondents 44.2 percent said they trusted the media, compared to 39.7 percent among nonparticipants.

More than half of respondents, 51.2 percent, said they believed the protest increased media interest in socioeconomic issues, while 27.1 percent said it did so only partially and 14.9 percent said it did not. Respondents who reported having higher incomes were more likely to say they thought the protest increased media interest in socioeconomic issues.