The share of journalists subjected to frequent verbal abuse seems to be growing in Finland
Cordi researcher Ilmari Hiltunen, together with Aleksi Suuronen (Åbo Akademi University) has in December 2019 authored a research report Kysely häirinnästä ja painostuksesta ohjelmatyötä tekeville yleläisille – raportti Yleisradion vaikuttamis- ja painostuskyselyn tuloksista (Survey on External Interference and Pressure among Yle Journalists and Media Workers – Research Report). The study was conducted in cooperation with the Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), the public service broadcaster in Finland.
The research examined experiences of external interference among journalists and media workers in Yle. The report is based on survey of 523 journalists and media workers. The aim of the research was to document and analyze different methods of external interference used to undermine or violate journalistic autonomy. Incidents of low-intensity interference were observed alongside more aggressive and intrusive methods, making it possible to capture more nuanced overall picture of different aspects of interference in the contemporary journalistic environment in Finland.
According to the survey the share of journalists subjected to verbal abuse seems to be increasing, as 60% of the respondents had been subjected to verbal abuse and 21% experienced it regularly during the last 12 months. In addition, 13% of respondents had received direct or indirect threats of violence and 14% had been subjected to public defamation during the observation period.
While experiences of explicit physical violence were rare among journalists and media workers, 18% of respondents reported monitoring, following or disruptions of work in physical space.
The results indicate that in contemporary hybrid media environment, journalists encounter new types of interference, harassment and intimidation. In order to rise to the challenge, journalistic organizations need to acknowledge and monitor these new threats and develop effective measures to combat them in order to effectively support their journalists and to preserve their journalistic autonomy and integrity.
The complete research report (144 pages) is available online in Finnish: