Healthy mistrust or complacent confidence? : Civic vigilance in the reporting by leading newspapers on nuclear waste disposal in Finland and France
Lehtonen, M., Kojo, M., Kari, M., & Litmanen, T. (2021). Healthy mistrust or complacent confidence? : Civic vigilance in the reporting by leading newspapers on nuclear waste disposal in Finland and France. Risk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy, 12(2), 130-157. https://doi.org/10.1002/rhc3.12210
Published inRisk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy
© 2021 The Authors. Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Policy Studies Organization
Trust and confidence have been identified as crucial for efforts at solving the conundrum of high‐level radioactive waste management (RWM). However, mistrust has its virtues, especially in the form of “civic vigilance”—healthy suspicion towards the powers that be. This article examines civic vigilance in the form of “watchdog journalism,” as practiced by the leading Finnish and French newspapers—Helsingin Sanomat (HS) and Le Monde (LM)—in their RWM reporting. Although both countries are forerunners in RWM, Finland constitutes a Nordic “high‐trust society” while France has been characterized as a “society of mistrust.” Employing the methods of frame analysis, key RWM‐related news frames were identified, consisting of varying combinations of confidence, skepticism, trust, and mistrust. LM's mistrust‐skepticism‐oriented framings reflect the classical watchdog role, in sharp contrast with the confidence oriented framings of HS, which tends to reproduce government and industry framings. Explanations for the observed differences can be sought in historically constituted political and media cultures, as well as national nuclear “regimes”. For further research, we suggest two alternative hypotheses concerning the implications that these distinct models of civic vigilance have for democracy. ...
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Related funder(s)Nuclear Waste Management Fund; Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Others; Strategic research programmes, AoF
Additional information about fundingFinnish Research Programme on Nuclear Waste Management (KYT2022). Grant Number: Dnro KYT 13/2019 Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland “Collaborative remedies for fragmented societies – facilitating the collaborative turn in environmental decision‐making” (CORE). Grant Number: Research project no. 313015 European Commission Marie Skłodowska‐Curie Individual Fellowships (IF). Grant Number: 794697‐TENUMECA ...
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