A1 Journal article (refereed)
Healthy mistrust or complacent confidence? : Civic vigilance in the reporting by leading newspapers on nuclear waste disposal in Finland and France (2021)


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


JYU authors or editors


Publication details

All authors or editors: Lehtonen, Markku; Kojo, Matti; Kari, Mika; Litmanen, Tapio

Journal or series: Risk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy

ISSN: 1944-4079

eISSN: 1944-4079

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 12

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 130-157

Publisher: Wiley

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/rhc3.12210

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/74587


Abstract

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.


Keywords: trust; society; radioactive waste; nuclear power plants; supervision; citizen observations; civil journalism; media; communication culture

Free keywords: media frames; radio active waste management; trust


Contributing organizations


Related projects


Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1


Last updated on 2021-25-08 at 12:38