Journalists on a press conference

Media for Democracy Monitor 2021

| 7 juni 2021

In a two-volume edition, the Media for Democracy Monitor 2021 delivers a panorama of the news media’s performance regarding freedom, equality and control across 18 countries worldwide.

The Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM) is a research project from the Euromedia Research Group that monitors to what extent the media are fulfilling their democratic role. It covers 18 countries around the world (including Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden) and pinpoints essential strengths and weaknesses during the past decade.  

Nordicom is now publishing the country reports in a two-volume edition titled “Media for Democracy Monitor 2021: How Leading News Media Survive the Digital Transformation”. Volume 1 contains countries presented in the 2011 MDM edition. Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. This allows for longitudinal comparative analysis.

Volume 2 contains all countries analysed for the first time in 2021: Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Chile, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy and South Korea.


Media for Democracy Monitor in the Nordics



  • Denmark generally lives up to most of the democratic criteria regarding freedom of information, media pluralism, journalistic professionalism, equality and the watchdog function of the news media.
  • Several challenges persist in the Danish news media, for example, increased government control of information is a problem.
  • A new threat to journalism, that of protecting journalists from online harassment, has in a short time become a priority in all major news media.

Read Chapter 4 (Vol. 2), Denmark: High media independence and informal democratic traditions in the newsroom, by Mark Blach-Ørsten, Rasmus Burkal, Eva Mayerhöffer, & Ida Willig.



  • The overall assessment of the performance and structure of the Finnish mainstream media is fairly positive.
  • A new trend that a growing number of journalists face today is the increase in harassment, hate speech and targeting.
  • The independence of the news media from political powerholders was generally considered strong, but many respondents called for a more critical attitude toward private companies and economic powerholders.

Read Chapter 4 (Vol. 1), Finland: Sustaining professional norms with fewer journalists and declining resources, by Marko Ala-Fossi, John Grönvall, Kari Karppinen, & Hannu Nieminen.



  • News consumption in Iceland is wide and equal in an international comparison.
  • Iceland ranks high on most international gender equality measurements. However, women are still under-represented in decision-making positions in media companies.
  • Systematic continuous monitoring and analysis of media content and quality is non-existent, and there is lack of organised media criticism.

Read Chapter 7 (Vol. 2), Iceland: A small media system facing increasing challenges, by Valgerður Jóhannsdóttir, Jón Gunnar Ólafsson, & Friðrik Þór Guðmundsson.



  • Leading news media in Sweden fulfil their democratic roles to a considerable extent, and the situation has improved slightly over time.
  • Freedom of information is secure in the Swedish media system. News media cover all areas of Sweden, and news regularly reaches most citizens.
  • Equality is achieved in some areas, but increased owner concentration in commercial media markets remains a problem.

Read Chapter 8 (Vol. 1), Sweden: Continuity and change in a more fragmented media landscape, by Lars Nord & Torbjörn von Krogh.


Read more

The Media for Democracy Monitor Project

The Euromedia Reseach Group