RTÉ boss ‘extremely pleased’ as public trust level rises despite controversies

By Cate McCurry, PA

RTÉ’s director general Kevin Bakhurst said he is “extremely pleased” that the public’s trust in the broadcaster has risen in the last year, despite the turbulence and controversies within the organisation.

Figures published by the media and online regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, in its annual Digital News Report, show that while trust in news is down slightly overall, some media outlets, including RTÉ, saw a rise in trust levels.

RTÉ News remains one of the most trusted news sources, with 72 per cent of the public describing it as trustworthy, which is a one per cent increase compared to last year.

The level of trust in The Irish Times also increased by 2 per cent and also remains the most trusted media outlet at 72 per cent.

BreakingNews.ie remains one of the most popular sources of online news in Ireland, with 23 per cent of respondents saying they visit the site every week.

The number of Irish people who strongly agree that they can trust most news most of the time has remained relatively stable since 2017.

The number of those who are more sceptical of news has risen by three per cent since 2021, while those who are neutral account for just over one in four people.

Ireland’s 46 per cent level of trust in “most of the news most of the time” is high by international standards, and compares with a European average of 39 per cent, a US rate of 32 per cent and a UK rate of 36 per cent.

Mr Bakhurst said that the rise in trust levels in RTÉ is reflection of the “incredible work” of the news teams.

The broadcaster was plunged into crisis in June last year after it admitted understating the fees for its star presenter and previous top earner Ryan Tubridy.

A series of probing parliamentary committee hearings also uncovered other concerns about culture, governance and financial management at RTÉ – and there have been several high-profile resignations from the board and executive of the station.

Mr Bakhurst was appointed director general last year.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Bakhurst said: “I am always concerned about the levels of trust, it’s absolutely critical for our news and current affairs.

“I think this is a reflection of the incredible work the teams in current affairs and news have done over the last year, not least at which is holding RTÉ to account over that period and the audience can see that.

“The audience is incredibly discerning, and I think this is a real reflection of the work the teams did at RTÉ so I am delighted for them.


“I am extremely pleased that the trust has gone up marginally in RTÉ. It’s at a high level, we remain one of the two most trusted news organisations in Ireland.

“That’s really important.”

He added: “It’s a long road to maintaining and rebuilding trust and the role of news and current affairs is critical.

“As I’ve said to everyone in RTÉ, it’s day in day out. It’s about the changes in the organisation, it’s about audiences being able to rely on what we put on air and what we put on our platforms.

“My role overall is to make sure we continue to rebuild trust in RTÉ.”

Elsewhere, the trust in the Irish Independent rose by 1 per cent; Newstalk by 2 per cent; Today FM by 2 per cent; Irish Examiner by 1 per cent; the Journal.ie by 2 per cent – while BBC News, Sky News and Virgin Media News all remain steady.