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Thursday, 12 July 2018

Monty Python’s Cleese to leave UK due to British press - ranked bottom of EU trust league

Omar Baggili

Actor and comedian John Cleese has declared he will leave the UK later this year due to the “lying and triviality” of the British press – ranked the least trustworthy among 33 European nations. 
Cleese appeared on BBC Newsnight on Tuesday to express his frustration at the current state of Britain. While exasperated at the level of debate on Brexit, he more pointedly stated that his “particular beef” was with the British press.

The 78 year old, a long-time Liberal Democrat supporter who voted leave in the 2016 EU Referendum, came armed with a clipboard and chart to highlight the research carried out by the EU each year on the trust level, in the printed media by its citizens.

The eccentric actor got BBC presenter Emily Maitlis to confirm that according to the extensive public opinion polling carried out by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the UK is ranked last out of 33 European countries on levels of trust in the press.

Cleese laughed when Maitlis suggested the statistics illustrated that the UK press was robust, adding: “Least trusted does not necessarily mean not true.”

Cleese, who has been a vocal supporter of electoral reform, advocating a move to proportional representation, as well as press reform, told the BBC that he was upping sticks to relocate to the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis in autumn later this year.

"It’s one of the nicest islands I’ve ever been on. The relationship between the races is absolutely superb. The people there are really kind,” he said of Nevis.

So has the UK got an issue with levels of public trust in the print press and the media more widely?

Based on the EBU’s latest 2018 report, which surveyed approximately 1,000 people aged 15 or over in 33 European nations in 2017, it would appear so.

As Cleese said, the UK is ranked 33rd out of 33 on public trust in the press. Almost two-thirds of British people surveyed “tend not to trust” their print media. Only 23% “tend to trust” and 4% “Don’t know” if they trust the British press - meaning the British public have a net trust level of -50 in the written press. 

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