Journalistic practices, role perceptions and ethics in democratisation conflicts: Empirical findings from interviews with journalists in Egypt Affiliation of the author(s)

Judith Lohner, Sandra Banjac, Irene Neverla, Kenya, Serbia, South Africa, Judith Lohner, Sandra Banjac, Irene Neverla
2016 unpublished
This study builds on qualitative semi-structured face-to face in-depth interviews with 100 local journalists in Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Serbia, and investigates the role of journalistic actors in transitional democracies across a set of comparable democratisation conflicts and themes of inquiry: journalistic work practices, ethical principles and dilemmas, role perceptions, and structural working conditions. Interviews were conducted by researchers of the MeCoDEM country teams between
more » ... vember 2014 and May 2015: 24 interviews in Egypt, 26 in Kenya, 8 25 in Serbia and 25 in South Africa, totalling 102 hours and 39 minutes of interview conversation. 2 The researchers interviewed professional journalists, defined here as a person who works (as an employee or freelancer) for journalistic media, and is involved in producing and editing journalistic content or is otherwise in editorial supervision and coordination. The sample includes journalists who covered different conflict cases, work in print outlets, TV, radio, online media outlets, public and private organisations, both male and female journalists, junior, middle-range and senior level journalists who vary in age, journalism experience, level of education and training, roles within the newsrooms (reporter, subeditor, editor, editor-in-chief etc.) and the beats they cover. 3 Overall methodological principles were drawn from the study's research interest and shortcomings in previous research (see: Neverla et al., 2015): (1) an innovative and sensitive qualitative empirical design was required, (2) an inductive, exploratory approach for certain research goals. In line with overall 'comparative case-study design' of the MeCoDEM project (see: Voltmer and Kraetzschmar, 2015) we compared journalistic constituents across countries and democratisation conflicts, enabling case-specific in-depth analysis within one country as well as across similar types of conflicts in different world regions. (3) As democratisation is a dynamic, nonlinear process, we applied methods that captured historical developments of journalistic cultures and working conditions across time. Finally, sampling accounted for different media outlets, media types, and levels of professional hierarchy. Interviewers relied on an interview guide ensuring that all core aspects and subject areas were covered across all journalists, countries and conflicts under study, while 2 The interviews have been organized, conducted, translated, transcribed and structured by our colleagues from the four country teams, namely Noakes (for South Africa). We thank them for their valuable work. 3 A description of the sample of interviewed journalists can be found in Appendix 1. We thank Shorouk El Hariry for her valuable contribution to the analysis of this data.