Eesti ajakirjanike autonoomiat mõjutavad tegurid



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Title: «Factors affecting the autonomy of Estonian journalists». Freedom is essential to the working principes of democractic journalism: as Scholl and Weischenberg (1999: 2) admit, journalists (individuals) ought to be free in selecting information and in covering stories; newsrooms (organizations) ought to be independent from external influences, such as commercial or political constraints; media systems (society) ought to have guaranteed press freedom and ought to be free from all kinds of censorship. On its different layers press freedom has different substance and thus it is essential to distinguish also different planes speaking of autonomy: there is a institutional, a organizational and a individual level. Factors affecting the autonomy of journalists can be divided as follows: political influences, economic influences, size of the market, organizational influences, job opportunities, achieved contract of employment, professional influences, procedural influences and reference groups (also look at the Figure 1, page 13). Some of these influences are more indirect (political influences, economic influences, size of the market, organizational influences, job opportunities) and the others have a direct impact on the autonomy of journalists (achieved contract of employment, professional influences, procedural influences and reference groups). Based on journalists estimates, that are proceed from the interviews carried out for this thesis, it can be first and foremost observed influences that have a direct impact on the autonomy of journalists. As well the experience of interviewed journalists provides an indication of indirect influences which may affect (mainly through the influences that have a direct impact on the autonomy of journalists) the autonomy of Estonian journalists. For example influences of the size of the market can be observed evaluating job opportunities and researching achieved contracts, economic influences can affect journalists through the editors as professional influences etc. As a result of this research it can be said that journalists feel (with one exception) pretty securely about their jobs, but this statement betrays a clause that they feel pretty securely about their jobs if they are subjected to the editorial hierarchy and to the demands of editors, with who journalists would be able to oppose, but this kind of behavior is not preferred. Journalists estimated that there are not so many jobs on the market and many of them see no opportunities for further jobs – that can be the potential limitation of the independence of journalists. Therefore the small size of the media market can be seen as negative impact on the autonomy of journalists. Most of the factors affecting the autonomy of journalists reach journalists as professional and procedural influences. According to Hanitzsch et al (2010: 15) professional influences refer to the policies, conventions, and customs of the profession in general and, specifically, the newsrooms for which the journalists work. These cultural conventions mostly pertain to what is commonly believed to be good and acceptable practice in journalism. Procedural influences include the various operational constraints faced by the journalists in their everyday work, this influence group also includes the form of limited resources in terms of time and space and the fact that news production is a highly standardized and routinized process (Hanitzsch et al 2010). In addition, journalists value reference groups (the audience, colleagues, the initimates and others) whose opinion ist aken into account and whose focus can be understood as immaterial reward to the work of journalists (Fengler & Ruβ-Mohl 2008). It also showed that every journalist and his/her experience with the influences affecting his/her autonomy as well as vision and attitude towards autonomy is different. However, autonomy is a concept over what several journalists are no exceedingly thought about. This thesis also revealed the fact some influences can be routinized in journalists` everyday work so that they would not be even noticed. On the other hand there are some critical-thinking journalists who in certain aspects sense and notice the influences that can affect their independence.