Faultless or almost
Article 100 of Norway’s 1814 constitution prepared the ground for media freedom. Today, the media are free and journalists are not subject to censorship or political pressure. Violence against journalists and media outlets is rare, although several cases of racist cyber-harassment have been reported. Fredrik Solvang, a well-known public TV journalist of Korean origin, revealed in December 2018 that he had been the target of racist insults. This led others to report that they had also received similar insults.
The Media Ownership Act, a 1997 anti-concentration law that banned media groups from owning more than 40% of the shares in any TV station, radio station or newspaper, was repealed in 2016 because it was regarded as unable to respond to the rapidly evolving media landscape. It was replaced by a media ownership transparency law that is less restrictive of concentration of ownership, and is governed by legislation on competition. Norway’s media authority, Mediatilsynet, and the competition authority must now work together to ensure media diversity.
The new, conservative-led coalition government cut subsidies for the media in the budget it presented in October 2017. Low-circulation newspapers and regional newspapers trying to survive in an increasingly competitive environment were especially affected. The Norwegian National Human Rights Institution criticised the government’s new code of criminal procedure in June 2017 for failing to increase protection for the confidentiality of journalists’ sources because it lacks clarity about the circumstances in which the police are allowed to violate this confidentiality.
1 in 2018
7.63 in 2018