The starting point for the project is a concern expressed in public discussions that aggressive discussion spreading in the media may start to restrict freedom of speech. Possible problems caused by aggressive speech are twofold. Firstly, diversity of opinions and arguments is possibly narrowed down in a potential sphere of hatred and fear. Secondly the question arises, whether freedom of speech can and should be restricted, if people or groups are offended or threatened when this freedom is used.
The research collects information on the following questions
1) Is aggressive discussion culture restricting diversity of voices in news journalism
2) Do stigmatising and hostile expressions circulate from online social media discussions to news journalism
3) What kind of editorial and moderating practices are news media and other central websites applying on online discussion in Finland and elsewhere in Europe
4) Is freedom of speech in online discussions restricted by editorial and moderating practices
The material of the research consists of interviews of journalists, specialists, active online writers and moderators, and discussions in news media and online, in addition to public and media companies’ internal guidelines for journalistic and moderating practices. The material is collected from Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Great Britain.
Research director Pentti Raittila
tel +358 400 615 212
pentti.raittila (a) uta.fi
tel. +358 50 318 5942
reeta.poyhtari (a) uta.fi
Helsingin Sanomat Foundation
Duration: 2012 – 2013