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Journalism under threat: Intimidation and harassment of Swedish journalists

Conference contribution
Authors Monica Löfgren Nilsson
Henrik Örnebring
Published in Future of Journalism. Cardiff 10-11 september 2015
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords Harassment, Intimidation, Threats, Abuse, Survey, Democracy, Autonomy
Subject categories Media and Communications


This paper examines the experience of intimidation and harassment among journalists in Sweden and charts the basic patterns of such experiences, using a representative survey of Swedish journalists (n = 1695, response rate 76 per cent). This study is important for two reasons: first, previous studies of intimidation and harassment of journalists have (rightly) focused on non-democratic and authoritarian nations and/or transitional democracies/emerging democracies, not democratic nations that have strong de facto and de jure safeguards of journalistic freedom and autonomy. Second, based on literature on online harassment, we suggest that intimidation and harassment of journalists is a hitherto little examined consequence of digitalization. Digitalization has opened up journalism in the virtual sphere and increased the transparency and visibility of journalistic work, often with a strong focus on individual journalists. Our research questions are To what extent, and in what forms, do Swedish journalists experience intimidation and harassment as a result of their professional role? and Do these threats influence their work in any way?

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