Recent scandals hitting the television industry have seriously dented public trust in the medium, a survey claims.

Over half of Britons trust TV producers less than they did one year ago, according to the YouGov poll carried out for the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Furthermore, in the wake of a series of exposed malpractice among premium rate phone-in competitions, 72 per cent said such competitions were difficult to trust while 79 per cent of previous participants vowed never to compete again.

Regulator Icstis fined the phone-in company behind Channel 4's Richard and Judy programme £150,000 for prompting viewers to call in when lines were already closed and later fined the company behind Deal or No Deal £30,000.

The BBC was fined £50,000 by broadcast watchdog Ofcom for faking the results of a phone-in and was forced to apologise after showing a trailer misleadingly suggesting the Queen had had a tantrum during filming for a documentary.

Today's survey suggests that misleading editing is the main way in which audiences can be deceived.

Three-fifths said reality TV programmes were generally misleading, while 59 per cent said documentaries were "generally truthful but with some distortion at the editing stage".

24/08/2007 12:34:24