Researcher: Strong Anti-Pedestrian Media Bias in Traffic Accident Coverage
Pedestrians involved in traffic accidents who weren't wearing a reflective device end up looking like they were at fault due to the way the Estonian media covers traffic accidents, a Tallinn University researcher found.
In an interview with ETV, Katrin Aava said news was often phrased from the point of view of car drivers, where the driver expresses the opinion that the pedestrians weren't visible.
Aava argued based on analysis of media coverage that only the driver's point of view was dominant in last year's news.
Another neglected point of view is that of eyewitnesses, she said, and that driver error and speed of the car are not included in articles.
On the other hand, stories nearly always note whether the pedestrian was wearing a reflective device - obligatory under Estonian law.
A possible consequence is that the driver-centric traffic culture is reinforced, Aava said.
Director general of the Road Administration Lauri Lugna told uudised.err.ee that other aspects besides reflective device should also be included, but he maintained that reflectors were equally important; otherwise the safety message from reflective gear campaigns would not be as effective.