Self Censorship among Icelandic Journalists

Birgir Guðmundsson

Abstract


The discussion on media self-censorship has flourished in Iceland after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices in January 2015 and after some dramatic changes in the top management and owner-groups of some of the media firms. But what is this experience that journalists describe as self censorship? This paper attempts to answer two main research questions. On the one hand the question how journalists understand the concept of selfcensorship. On the other hand the question: what is the experience of Icelandic journalist of self-censorship? The approach is the one of a qualitative research and is based on interviews with six experienced journalists. The main findings suggest important influence of the social discourse on news and news values of journalists and their tendency for self-censorship. This discourse is partly directed by politicians and influential bloggers and also by a massive discussion by active social media users. Furthermore the findings suggest, that ownership and the location of the particular medium where a journalist works in the lineup of different commercial-political blocks in the media market, is important for self-censorship. Finally it seems that journalists understand the concept selfcensorship in a different manner and that it is important to define the term carefully if it is to be used as an analytical tool.

Keywords


Self-censorship; journalism; freedom of expression; media.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2015.11.1.4

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