Den fria pressen måste förstå poängen med pressfriheten

Publicerat av Gunnar Hökmark den

Oviljan eller oförmågan att se sina brister är sannolikt en av traditionella medias största brister. Det leder till en ofelbarhetsdogm där varje fel indirekt innebär ett underkännande av den egna verksamheten. Pressfriheten framställs som ett skäl till att stå ovanför kritik och kritiken i sig ses som angrepp mot pressfriheten. Det är ett självskadebeteende som spelar den fria pressens fiender i händerna. När man gör varje fel, brist eller dålig rapportering till en prestigefråga om den egna verksamhetens trovärdighet blir varje kritisk synpunkt till ett angrepp mot den egna verksamhetens legitimitet.  

En symbol för ofelbarhetsdogmen var den så kallade Faktakollen, där ett antal svenska medier gick samman om att genom sin faktakoll, som rimligtvis borde vara en normalitet i all journalistisk verksamhet, slå fast Sanningen och döma vad som är Rätt eller Fel. Det är en syn på nyheter och fakta som står i strid med pressfrihetens tanke. Det är i helt andra system som Någon slår fast och dömer av vad som är sant, rätt och riktigt. 

Pressfriheten är inte en garanti för att ett enskilt medium har rätt, än mindre någon legitimering av kvalitet. Det är inte det enskilda mediet i sig som är pressfriheten. Pressfriheten har vi tvärtom av det enkla skälet att medier inte präglas av någon upphöjd sanning utan av uppfattningar, idéer, värderingar, kunskaper och okunskaper samt allt annat som formar rapportering och påverkar urvalet av nyheter, liksom hur de vinklas. Pressfriheten är det enda sättet att möta och balansera det enskilda mediets brister, oförmåga, eller lysande förmåga att argumentera för sin övertygelse och sina värderingar. 

Public service skiljer sig inte i någon del från detta annat än att man har ett offentligt uppdrag och offentlig finansiering. Det innebär inte att man därmed har pressfrihetens ideal om mångfald integrerad i sig utan att man är en del av den mångfald som pressfriheten tillåter.

Tanken att ett medieföretag skulle stå över andra – att det genom sin egen verksamhet uppfyller det som pressfriheten är till för – för att det har ett offentligt uppdrag och statlig finansiering står i en djup konflikt med pressfrihetens grundläggande principer, precis som en gång monopolet var ett direkt brott mot principen om fria och oberoende media. 

Den misstro gentemot traditionella media som en del krafter odlar får till stor del sin näring i ofelbarhetsdogmen. Sätter man ofelbarhet som ett krav på media blir varje fel i rapportering, eller uppfattning som präglar den, ett exempel på att strävan till saklighet och korrekthet är en lögn istället för just bara en brist, ett fel eller en värdering i det stora medielandskapet och i det öppna samhället. I konspirationsteoretikernas värld blir felet, bristen, uppfattningen, värderingen eller kampanjen ett uttryck för korrupta media som medvetet förnekar eller döljer verkligheten och i konflikt med den vanliga människans intressen söker driva fram elitens uppfattningar. Det är då man attackeras som folkets fiende.

Ofelbarhetsdogmen föder också tron på att det journalistiska arbetet, det kallas ofta lite jargongmässigt ”hantverket” som för att visa att det bara är en klinisk verksamhet befriad från personliga värderingar, upphöjd från den läsarens förmåga att bedöma, och inte alls beroende till den enskildes kunskaper och kompetens.

Tror man att de egna personliga uppfattningarna är den objektiva sanningen, att man själv står över politikens konflikter och motsättningar, då har man liten förmåga att kritiskt förhålla sig till de egna åsikterna och opartiskt till andras. Är man värderingsmässigt förankrad till vänster kan man mycket väl göra ett utomordentligt journalistiskt arbete liksom om man står till höger men det är svårare om man inte inser att man står till vänster, eller till höger, utan tror att man står mitt i de åsiktsperspektiv som präglar samhällsdebatten. Har man då bristande utbildning, akademisk bakgrund och förmåga till analys blir man än mer i händerna på sina egna föreställningar, vilket förstärks om chefer inte ser behovet av kritisk granskning och förmår utföra den. 

Det är klart att Ekots trovärdighet har drabbats av skandalen kring hur en medarbetare har rapporterat om en islamistisk aktivist som hon har haft en relation med. Oförmågan att agera och viljan att mörka gör det värre och till ett ledningsproblem. Men kanske är det mest allvarliga att det på en stor medieredaktion inte ansågs lite udda att man blev till språkrör för en islamistisk aktivist i en tid då radikalisering och extremism är ett hot mot vårt samhälle. 

Det förändrar inte det faktum att Ekot är en bra nyhetskanal. Ett litet eller i det här fallet stort fel förändrar inte detta, även om misstroendet mot hanteringen har blivit ett problem som man också måste hantera. Utan ofelbarhetsdogmen hade man kanske varit mer kritiskt granskande, inte lika ivrig att mörka utan mer angelägen om att visa att man agerat. Utan ofelbarhetsdogmen hade heller inte fallet varit så stort. Då hade vi kunnat konstatera att det inte är det enskilda mediet vi ska lita på i varje fråga utan pressfriheten, mångfalden och den kritiska granskningen. Det var tur att Doku finns och tråkigt för andra etablerade medier att man inte orkade ifrågasätta ofelbarhetsdogmen. 

Det kunde ju ha varit SvT, DN, SvD, Expressen eller Aftonbladet som avslöjat en skandal mitt i det svenska samhället. Men då måste etablerade medier frigöra sig från ofelbarhetsdogmen och tron att pressfriheten innebär att press ska stå fri från kritisk granskning av varandra. Den fria pressen bör gå i täten för att hylla det som en fri press innebär. 

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