Freedom of Expression Challenged: Scientists’ Perspectives on Hidden Forms of Suppression and Self-censorship

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The media have become an important arena where struggles over the symbolic legitimacy of expert authority take place and where scientific experts increasingly have to compete for public recognition. The rise of authoritarian and populist leaders in many countries and the growing importance of social media have fueled criticism against scientific institutions and individual researchers. This paper discusses the new hidden forms of suppression and self-censorship regarding scientists' roles as public experts. It is based on two web surveys conducted among Finnish researchers in 2015 and 2017. We focus on answers to the open-ended questions in these surveys, where respondents reflect upon issues of freedom of expression and the feedback they receive in public arenas. Building on previous research on suppression, "research silencing," and the "chilling effect," we discuss the connection between freedom of expression and freedom of inquiry. We make a distinction between four forms of suppression: political and economic control, organizational control, control between rival academics, and control from publics. Moreover, we make explicit and discuss the means, motives, and practices of suppression within each of these four forms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0162243920978303
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Volume46
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1172-1200
Number of pages29
ISSN0162-2439
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 518 Media and communications
  • ACADEMIC IDENTITY
  • INNOVATION
  • PUBLICS
  • SCIENCE
  • TRIPLE-HELIX
  • academic freedom
  • freedom of expression
  • public expertise
  • science communication
  • suppression

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