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Yle study: Journalists under more pressure on social media

Efforts to influence journalists have changed in recent years.

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Image: Yle/ Derrick Frilund

A new report from Yle suggests that journalists are coming under increasing pressure and suffering harassment on social media.

"We all know that social media harassment and intimidation have become a daily occurrence, especially in relation to some topics," said Yle's Editor-in-Chief Jouko Jokinen.

The report was conducted by Hannele Pokka and Juhani Pekkala, who interviewed 36 Yle journalists, camera operators, producers, managers and editors.

Topics that brought the most feedback included immigration, gender issues, health, nutrition, climate change, conservation, predators, Sami people and the US elections and ex-president Donald Trump.

Around three-quarters of respondents had experienced some pressure or intimidation during their career, but nobody interviewed for the study said that they had avoided a topic because of the possible reaction.

The report suggests that attempts to influence journalists are no longer made directly, but powerful figures sometimes post on social media and their followers then contact reporters to press their case.

Yle's security department has calculated that over the last three years there have been 20-30 threats of violence against Yle staff, and 3-5 of them have been passed on to police for further investigation.

The number is quite small compared to the amount of feedback Yle gets, with some 50,000 contacts each week and 1.4 million comments on Facebook.

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