Hate and threats against journalists: consequences for freedom of speech and democracy
A majority of the early scientific research on the internet had, rather uncritically, high hopes for the new technology’s potential to advance democratic development in society. Today we know that the internet also poses serious challenges to the democratic legal state. One such challenge are threats and hatred aimed at journalists. This occurs to such a degree that it is reasonable to approach the problem from a crime victim perspective. Especially when it concerns female journalists and journalists covering ethnicity and equality. A recent report commissioned by the Council of Europe shows that one in three journalists in Europe are subjected to threats and hatred to such an extent that it has negative impact on their mental health.
The basis for this project is that journalists exposed to violations and threats, without sufficient societal support, are at risk of developing defense mechanisms in the form of self-censorship. Such a development would have problematic societal consequences.