In this top group, the mass media regularly provides high-quality information on government policy, and newspapers readership is high.
Norway stands out even in this group, with exceptionally high rates of newspapers circulation, and by far the OECD’s highest number of newspapers per capita. Newspaper readership is also quite high in Sweden and Finland.
Television and radio programs in all four countries offer high-quality political information, though infotainment programming is also common in each. Norway’s TV companies have recently increased their news coverage.
In most of this group’s countries, public stations provide ample high-quality programming, but with intensifying competition from infotainment-focused commercial companies. Newspaper readership is typically moderate.
Japan is a notable exception in the group, with the OECD’s highest newspaper circulation rate, as well as the lowest number of quality newspapers per capita. Luxembourg and Iceland have comparatively large numbers of newspapers, but Iceland has minimal domestically produced TV programming.
The quality of media reporting is rated as high in the UK and in Ireland, where a new Broadcasting Authority oversees programmer impartiality. New Zealand was the criterion’s biggest gainer relative to the SGI 2009, in part thanks to a new heavily news-focused TV channel.
Iceland’s media, portions of which were owned by banks, was criticized for biased pre-crash coverage of the financial sector. Newspaper circulation has fallen substantially in the country.
In this group, complaints about the slipping quality of television programming are common, while newspaper circulation also tends to be low in comparative terms.
The broadcast media in South Korea and Greece provide notably poor coverage of government information. Concerns over a decline of standards and a polarization of the media, particularly focusing on “reckless” right-wing news programming, are high in the United States. By contrast, Canada and the Netherlands retain ample high-quality television programming.
Belgium’s generally high-quality news programming is split by linguistic region, with each providing little news of the other region. Poland’s public TV stations have been weakened by declining resources and political bias.
Newspaper circulation is moderately high in the Netherlands and South Korea, but comparatively low elsewhere in the group. Greece stands out for unusual growth in both newspaper circulation and the number of newspapers per capita.
In this bottom group, mass media outlets tend to provide increasingly superficial or biased coverage of government policy, while newspaper readership is low in comparative terms across the group
Political bias in news coverage is a growing problem in Hungary, which saw this criterion’s top decline relative to the SGI 2009. In Turkey, the state-run TV station takes a pro-government ideological stance.
Coverage is superficial in Italy, Chile and Portugal, focusing on controversy and personality. News coverage in Mexico is light, but accurate and balanced. The population of well-trained journalists is on the decline in Slovakia, where public TV and radio programming is losing market share.
Chile has the OECD’s lowest newspaper circulation rate, with Mexico only marginally higher.