This article explores the degree to which journalists in Finland experience different types of external interference and how they perceive the implications of interference. For this study, external interference is defined as all active and invasive methods that external actors use to influence journalists and interfere in the journalistic processes to influence editorial content. By using Finland as a case example, this article provides new empirical evidence on how external interference manifests in the contemporary journalistic environment in a democratic Western country with strong safeguards for press autonomy. Based on the statistical analysis of survey responses from 875 Finnish journalists, the results indicate that individual-level factors of age and gender have only a marginal relation to the prevalence of external interference. Of analyzed organizational-level factors—employment type, occupational position, and media outlet used for reporting—the latter two were most significant. This article offers three important empirical contributions: (1) it highlights the existence of editorial defense shield as journalistic practice; (2) it illustrates the complex relationship between gender and external interference; and (3) it demonstrates how journalists in national and regional newspapers are more prone to interference than their colleagues in other media outlets.
- Journalism (profession)