Autonomous Journalists and Anonymous Politicians? Norwegian Media Coverage of then NSA and the "Snowden Affair"








The NSA/Snowden revelations represent a case for studying the degree of journalistic autonomy versus the political field, in a situation where national and international security is at stake. In an era of rapid digital transition the revelations constitute a unique moment for studying field relations. This article examines the coverage of the NSA/Snowden revelations of massive transnational surveillance in six national Norwegian newspapers, with a main emphasis on opinionated articles. By way of content analysis we find that a clear majority of the editorials demonstrate a supportive attitude to Edward Snowden and treat him as a whistleblower, while treating the publishing journalists in The Guardian as situated within a proud tradition of investigative journalism, albeit with some diversity of opinion. In external opinionated contributions, a majority of the items reveal a critical attitude towards this surveillance and a supportive attitude towards Snowden. With a few exceptions, politicians do not take part in these exchanges, and are challenged for their low degree of engagement by several editorials. The article demonstrates a strong field autonomy vis-à-vis a political field where only a few parliamentarians came out in support of Snowden. Keywords: journalism, field autonomy, surveillance, NSA, Snowden




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