Experiences of External Interference Among Finnish Journalists

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Abstract

This study examines the prevalence, methods and implications of external interference among Finnish journalists based on survey responses from 875 working journalists. The definition of external interference used in the study encompasses all active and invasive methods external actors use to interfere in the journalistic process with the objective to influence editorial content. The findings indicate that low-level interference in everyday journalistic practices and mediated verbal abuse are the most frequent types of external interference. While severe interference is rare, results show that the perceived risk of interference causes concern and self-censorship among the respondents. The results are in line with previous Nordic and European studies, and underline how external interference may have detrimental effects on journalistic autonomy also in countries with strong legal, institutional and cultural safeguards of press freedom.

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