The public trust the BBC more than the government over claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, according to a new poll.

The public trust the BBC more than the government over claims about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, according to a new poll.

Just over half of the 1,000 people questioned by pollster NOP - 54% - said they trusted the BBC with only a fifth - 21% - saying they had greater faith in the government.

The survey, commissioned by public relations firm Weber Shandwick, comes as the row over the death of BBC mole and Ministry of Defence scientist Dr David Kelly refuses to die down, putting both the government's conduct and the BBC's journalism in the spotlight.

Despite concerted criticism by government ministers, the survey found that the public still places greater trust in the BBC than in other news organisations.

When asked which news provider they trusted the most, 44% went for the BBC with 24% plumping for ITV News. Only 13% had greatest faith in Sky News - the network which recently suspended a reporter after he fabricated a report about a missile launch during the Iraq conflict.

Weber Shandwick head of media strategy Peter Morgan said: "Whenever governments picks a fight with the BBC, they tend to come off worst."

However, the Iraq row has affected trust in broadcast news as a whole. A majority of those questioned - 51% - said they trusted television and radio news less now than they did a year ago.

Results

Q1 Do you trust what you see and hear on TV and radio news more or less now

than you did a year ago?

Much more5%

Somewhat more9%

Somewhat less29%

Much less 22%

Same/no difference35%

Don't Know1%

Q2 Which of these sources of news, if any do you trust the most?

Newspapers12%

Radio25%

TV51%

All same/none11%

Don't Know1%

Q3 Which of the following news programmes, if any do you trust most?

BBC 44%

ITV News 24%

Channel 4 news 11%

Sky News 13%

Don't Know3%

None of these6%

Q4 Who do you believe more on the issue of Weapons of mass destruction in

Iraq? The BBC or the Government?

Much more likely to believe BBC 28%

Somewhat more likely to believe BBC 26%

Much more likely to believe Government 9%

Somewhat more likely to believe Government 12%

Same / no difference 14%

Don't know / no answer 12%