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Illiberal trends in Norwegian media

Harsh attacks on skeptical dissent and lack of criticism of those in power: Is the mass media helping to restrict freedom of expression? Ny Tid has spoken with media researcher Rune Ottosen and Fritt Ord's director Knut Olav Åmås. 

media researcher Rune Ottosen – professor at HiOA and board member of Norwegian PEN – thinks there may be cause for concern when the media neglects its role as critical corrective to the rulers on security policy issues, and at the same time becomes too stigmatizing in their statements of the critical voices in the security and foreign policy debate: "My own research shows that it is largely consensus in the newspaper editorials on Norwegian security policy, and especially in foreign operations. It shows the media coverage of the Libya and Afghanistan wars, although the latter became the subject of some more investigative journalism. When the Storting is unanimous, without dissent, as in the decision on the Libya war, journalism often becomes even more traced. Without contradictions, there will be even less debate. "


Asked about Bergens Tidende's attack on WikiLeaks and the Holberg debate 2017, Ottosen replies that he considers Assange and WikiLeaks important players in giving the public access in key conditions that the authorities would otherwise keep hidden. At the same time, he has a mixed relationship with Assange as a person and his views. However, he has no doubt about what should be the media's duty in the face of the persecution Assange is facing: "I think Norwegian media should defend his democratic rights and freedom of speech to a much greater extent than they do. "

About both Bergens Tidende and Dagbladets slaughter of Assange and Holberg debate (see case) Ottosen says that one is happy to criticize Assange and other dissidents for their views and actions, but that the criticism must be factual. . .

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Eirik Vold
Former freelancer in MODERN TIMES. Today political adviser in Red.

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