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Dangerous tabloid

Knut Olav Åmås. Don't you know better? Martine Aurdal criticizes the latest issue of Contemporary.


A delicious Nigerian whore who sometimes gets orgasm with great clients. A pretty and well-dressed homse who sells sex to free her own sexuality. This is the language used and the starting point in two of the contemporary articles that were released yesterday. The goal has obviously been to nuance the image of prostitutes as drug addicts wrecked with no meaning or pleasure. Of course, reality is more complex. But the journal has ended up as an example of what happens when the pursuit of critical sense ends in the critique of tabloid. Unfortunately, it also becomes dangerous. Not for that matter. For the interview items.


Here comes God – and she's damn pissed off, Linda Skugge wrote a few years ago. Now God is angry again, this time at the contemporary editor Knut Olav Åmås. If God is a black woman, Åmås is in the latest issue of Norway's MOST IMPORTANT magazine, Judas himself. The black woman in this case is called Gina, and the Pharisees are a plumber from Hønefoss and the international prostitution mafia.

Knut Olav Åmås is one of the country's best editors, and when Contemporary falls into my mailbox, I look like a young man in front of the Christmas presents. I tear off the plastic to see what's inside. Also this week I resolutely sat down and started reading. Most often, the journal is very good. As a result, the fall height also becomes larger. I have repeatedly defended the editor's more tabloid choices, and think a journal should also aim to be the premise provider in the social debate. This time, however, Åmås has crash landed. With a landing that VG would hardly do after him.

Source criticism

To take it first; Willy Pedersen and Camilla Jordheim Larsen interview a Swedish young man, and he calls Phillip. They have left the source criticism in the office in favor of leading questions and pointed angle. Sociologists are in on the issue for a moment; "We eventually understand that he can story. He has told it before. As social scientists, we also know that we create meaning in our lives by telling stories, in the way Phillip now does. This is one story of his life. He probably could have told others. But this is the one he shares with us. It's this guy vile share with us. ”

That's true. We will all justify our own choices, and do it naturally enough by angling the information about ourselves. However, it does not justify that Pedersen and Jordheim Larsen so clearly know which story de will tell US. I also interviewed Phillip and conveyed his version of this. In this connection it should also be mentioned that he was at least then active in ROSEA, the Swedish organization for sex workers. He is a goal-bearer of the arguments against criminalization and the rights of prostitutes.

The story can be told in many ways. The researchers have chosen one; The freedom Phillip experiences by selling sex has enriched his life. The information and statements stand for themselves. But the angle might as well have been how Phillip himself, at least to me, emphasized the need for money when he first prostituted himself. That he had a late sexual debut and only had one relationship, with a man who exploited his poor self-confidence and used sex as a means of power. One could focus on the bad experiences and elaborate the stories about the times Phillip couldn't afford to be picky on the customers. But then the article would not reach its function in Contemporary.

Data Privacy (GDPR)

Personal focus on important issues is a straightforward and clear way of presenting a problem. So far we agree, Åmås and I. Today's biggest privacy debate to date has been about the teacup of Hanne Ørstavik. But this time, Åmås has let tabloid considerations overshadow the human. Martin Gaarder's article "I am Gina" should, and may have been checked in advance with Per Edgar Kokkvold in the Press's Academic Committee. In any case, Åmås shows here a tabloid view that VG would hardly have been guilty of. Those who always move on the edge know where the boundary goes. When VG interviews Norway's best known prostitutes, it is always both the prostitutes and the customers anonymized. The frog mentality is first satisfied in Contemporary. With Gina on four pictures in different sections. Below the portrait we find names, place of residence, place of work, nationality and age.

I'm sorry about who Åmås has been drinking coffee with that does not see the problem of identifying Gina, how many extra copies of Contemporary sold with her image or how "living" the article becomes for readers. This is dangerous tabloid. For Gina potentially fatal.


It is not only God who is cursed. Forbanna is probably the plumber from Hønefoss, who has given the lady 150.000 since Christmas and now gets to read about all the lies he went on. Concerned is probably the one who is referred to as the "twin child and African expert in a well-known Norwegian humanitarian organization", who tend to meet Gina in a suite on the Plaza. Cursed is surely the Police, who here read how Gina sneaked out of the country. Now that Gina has crossed the border, she is probably safe from these. But she is also less confident than ever.

Gina is neither safe for the international prostitution mafia that got her to Spain and here, nor to the sister-in-law whom she constantly owes money to. They brought her to Spain last, and can find her in Madrid's horrors too. With Contemporary in one hand as they tie the other.

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