Solving the Surveillance Problem

Media Debates About Unwanted Surveillance in Finland
  • Minna Tiainen


This chapter examines the way surveillance is discussed in the leading Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat after the revelations made by former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden. In 2013, Snowden provided journalists with documents that revealed the unexpected extent of surveillance conducted by security agencies such as the NSA. Drawing on Critical Discourse Studies and a Foucauldian view of discourse, this article understands media discussions following the Snowden revelations as discursive struggles where the legitimacy and future of surveillance are being constructed and debated. The article examines the ways the media formulates solutions to the problems posed by surveillance, and explores the way they contribute to the overall discursive struggle. The solutions appearing in the data are categorised into two main categories, next step solutions and direct solutions. Overall, it is concluded that solutions play a minor role in the news coverage as they tend to appear briefly and rarely as subjects of debate. This means that solutions do not make a substantial contribution to the discursive struggle over surveillance and, furthermore, leads to an understanding of surveillance as a practice that is difficult to change.


News Coverage Media Discussion Step Solution Critical Discourse Analysis National Security Agency 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Language and Communication StudiesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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