Aktuelle Projekte

Explaining external pressure and influence on journalists in Switzerland


Project funded by the Fund for the Promotion of Young Academics (FAN) at UZH

Project period: 2021 – 2022

with Katja Rost

Journalists in Western democratic societies not only feel economic pressure within their media companies. They are also the target of coercive influence by interview partners, politicians, and disgruntled readers. The corresponding external influence refers to all active methods, perceived by journalists as invasive and inappropriate, used by actors outside journalistic organizations to influence editorial content. It includes verbal pressure and abuse, defamation, physical violence, vandalism, positive and negative economic sanctions such as bribery and threats of legal action. The much-discussed increase of external influence in Western democratic societies is observed with concern, as it threatens freedom of expression and of the press. However, very little is known about the phenomenon, its extent, and its causes. This project pursues the following questions: How often do journalists in Switzerland experience different forms of external influence and by whom and why? How does external influence affect journalistic work? We use a sociological explanatory model that incorporates individual and organizational factors. We test the model in an online survey among a nationally representative sample of journalists in Switzerland.


Extent of digital hate speech in the Swiss population and its socio-structural basis


Project funded by the Federal Office for Communications (OFCOM)

Project period: 2021 – 2022

with Sebastian Weingartner, Dirk Baier, Katharina Lobinger

The aim of this project is to determine for the first time the proportion of perpetrators and victims of digital hate speech in a representative sample of the Swiss population. Furthermore, it will be investigated in which socio-demographic and socio-economic groups the perpetrators and victims are particularly frequently represented. In parallel, a differentiated survey instrument for digital hate speech will be developed for survey studies. These goals will be methodologically implemented in a survey in all three major language regions of Switzerland. We will provide the scientific community with insights into the socio-demographic and socio-economic basis of online hate speech and an elaborated measurement tool for digital hate speech. The results will also help to develop target group-specific countermeasures.