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Freedom of speech and the strengthening of democracy


The Green Party looks with concern at the evolution of the public vocabulary. Public debate on matters of socially significant importance has lived a miserable existence for many years. The situation does not seem to be improving by itself. Rather, it seems that more and more newspapers are placing even less emphasis on information and debate.

Due to the newspapers 'dependence on the market, the emphasis is placed on ads rather than what should be the newspapers' actual task; namely information activities and public exchanges of words. Democracy rests on public education and debate. Without such a foundation, democracy is just a name for market liberalism adorns itself.

We are satisfied noted that the government has expressed a desire to strengthen the openness of society. In our opinion, a proper and important step in this direction would be to ensure that information, investigative journalism and public debate can live independently of market forces.

We envisage that an incentive could be financial support schemes that allow pure opinion newspapers – free of advertisements. It is important that there are nationwide newspapers that satisfy the need for democratic community involvement.

In the local communities there used to be two newspapers. Today, communities have only one. When this one newspaper gradually lowers the level of information and debate in favor of an advertising market, democracy is bad. We have also noticed a radical change in the negative direction in recent times. At the same time, the locals depend so much on keeping one newspaper, to be informed about local conditions, measures and events.

We urge the government to take its own desire for a more open society seriously and, as soon as possible, introduce financial support schemes for clean opinion papers.

Trude Malthe Thomassen is the national spokesman for the Green Party Environment Party.

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