Når kritikken rammer DR

Susan Østerdal Simonsen & Mette Gehrke

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The focus of this master thesis is on media ethics and the Danish Broadcasting Corporation DR’s actions to prevent ethical criticism. The starting point was a debate on press ethics and journalists' lack of credibility in the Danish media. Our interest was awakened by a number of critical cases brought against DR in the media. DR was criticized for ethical misjudgments and responded by creating a new position: Head of ethics. At the time, DR was in possession of a news ombudsman, Jacob Mollerup, entitled “lytter- og seerredaktør”, who also worked on the basis of DR’s Code of Ethics. The news ombudsman and the head of ethics are the focus of our examination. Firstly, we examined the development of the news ombudsman’s role from the beginning of his employment in 2004 until 2013. Established research describes the role of the news ombudsman as two extremities on a continuum. Our research shows that it was not possible for DR’s news ombudsman to remain centered between these two extremeties. An analysis of a number of documents describing Jacob Mollerup’s work during his period of employment proved that his role has undergone a transformation towards an independent and critical news ombudsman. Furthermore, established research demonstrates that critical columns allow an independent news ombudsman to generate journalistic quality. By conducting four qualitative reception research interviews with four news reporters from DR we examined their reception of a column written by Jacob Mollerup. The results show that the column did not lead to self-reflection among the four news reporters. Thus, the news ombudsman seems to be operating under difficult conditions if he aims to increase the quality of journalism in DR. Finally, we examined the role, work, and responsibilities of the Head of Ethics Inger Bach. Through a greater search and analyses of 332 articles as well as the analyses of the four qualitative interviews we gained insight as to the role and potentials of Inger Bach. The results indicate that the role of the head of ethics is an addition to that of the news ombudsman. Together they form what we choose to name an ethical corps. Both the head of ethics and the news ombudsman seem to have little effect on the four news reporters whom we interviewed. Our results reveal that the news reporters have their own ethical standards and morals, which they base their actions on. They seem to be resistant towards other’s opinions on ethics. Therefore, the main potential of DR’s ethical corps appears to be to generate transparency and legitimacy for DR.

UddannelserKommunikation, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato29 jun. 2014
VejledereKim Christian Schrøder


  • Etik
  • DR