Watchdogs and government megaphones: The dual democratic roles of the news media during the Covid-19 pandemic in Iceland and Sweden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic highlights two democratic roles of the news media during a crisis: to provide important information and to be a critical voice of decisions made by those in power. In this chapter, we examine how the media in Iceland and Sweden conveyed authorities’ messages and to what extent the authorities’ actions were questioned. The study is based on content analysis of news reports collected during the first year of the pandemic (2020). Our findings show that reporting largely followed an informative discourse and that health and economy were the dominant themes. Authorities in both countries relied heavily on experts to convey information, which was reflected in the news coverage. Critical reporting on the implemented strategies and protective measures was limited, more so in Iceland than in Sweden, but the consequences of the pandemic were clearly more dire in the latter context. Discourses in both countries were more national than international, with only few references made to other countries, including Nordic neighbours.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunicating a pandemic: Crisis management and Covid-19 in the Nordic countries
PublisherNordicom, University of Gothenburg
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2023

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