A disturbing fact emerged that governments around the world are losing the trust of their people. This was revealed in the 2017 edition of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer Report unveiled on Tuesday in Nigeria by Chain Reactions, an affiliate of Edelman, the world’s number one Public Relations firm.
The report shows that trust levels in government which was 41 percent in the 2016 report, dropped in 14 markets and is the least trusted institution in half of the 28 countries surveyed. Fifty-three percent of respondents believe the current overall system has failed them, it is unfair and offers little hope for the future.
The institution that experienced the deepest plunge in trust is the media which is distrusted by 57 per cent of the respondents in all countries surveyed. The survey also shows that Trust in NGOs has dropped for the first time to nearly the same level as trust in business. The survey found that CEO credibility dropped 12 points globally to an all-time low of 37 percent, plummeting in every country studied.
Edelman Trust Barometer is a credibility survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence and consisted of 25-minutes online interviews conducted between October 13th to November 16th 2016. The survey sampled more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries asking respondents how much they trust the four institutions of government, business, media and nongovernmental organizations to do what is right. Nigeria is not one of the countries surveyed.
Unveiling the report, Managing Director of Edelman, South Africa, Jordan Ritternberry, said Trust in government has dropped to the level that it is distrusted by 59 per cent of respondents in all the countries surveyed. “With the fall of trust, the majority of respondents now lack full belief that the overall system is working for them,” he said.
In his welcome speech CEO of Chain Reactions, Mr. Israel Opeyemi explained that hosting the event for the first time in Nigeria in the 17-year history of the report is an important step which underscores the strategic importance of the Nigerian market to Edelman.
He said: “Edelman has been doing this for 17 years but this is the first time this is being brought to Nigeria on the back of our recently consummated partnership. We intend to use this as a foundational step to help Nigeria establish the Nigerian Trust Index which is the average of a country’s trust in the institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organizations. We want to begin to share ideas with these four critical institutions of society on how to know when the trust gap widens and what to do.”
He said working with its partners in Edelman, his company also intend to begin to lay the foundation for future work with key governmental institutions, corporate, media as well as nongovernmental clients who really care about growing their asset of trust.
Opeyemi said the survey is significant because it documents insights and knowledge that help governments, businesses, media and nongovernmental organizations to proactively build and raise their trust equity as a major factor that impacts organizational reputation.
For government, Opayemi said honest efforts must now be made by government to earn the trust of the people in not only what they say but what they do. He however expressed the hope that there are great lessons to be drawn from the survey report for all the four institutions in focus saying, “we are confident that the report will instruct governments, businesses, the media and non-governmental organizations operating within this eco system to take their assets of trust seriously.”
Speaking during a panel discussion, Chairman of Channels Television, John Momoh, said professionalism is important on the road to building trust. According to him, once the people see you as being professional in you work, they are more likely to trust you.
The report show that a yawning trust gap is emerging between elite and mass population. One clear indication from the report is that, there is a rise of populism in most countries of the world today and the mass population has taken control away from the elite. This has been made evident in both Brexit and the outcome of the last US Presidential election.