Norway’s legal framework safeguarding freedom of the press is robust. The media market is vibrant, featuring a strong public service broadcaster and a diversified private sector with publishing companies guaranteeing extensive editorial independence.
The public service broadcaster NRK dominates the audiovisual market and its only TV contender – apart from pure entertainment – is the commercial channel TV2. In the digital landscape, the online version of the VG newspaper is breaking audience records. Nearly 230 news outlets operate in the country. A more radical opinion journalism has been developing online in recent years.
The Norwegian media operate in a favourable political environment. By and large, Norwegian politicians refrain from labelling unfavourable coverage as “fake news” and from disparaging its authors. Parliamentarians and government ministers avoid approaching the editorial boards of publications subsidised by public bodies.
The constitution guarantees both freedom of expression and the right to public information, which is also protected by several other laws. The media industry works under a common code of ethics.
The Norwegian Media Authority collects, classifies and publishes information about media ownership. For their part, competition authorities protect pluralism in terms of ownership. The “zero VAT” policy on news media contributes to upholding quality and pluralism.
On the whole, society and the state encourage independent journalism and the exchange of ideas. Occasionally, media professionals are harassed online.
Journalists generally work in a safe environment. A few rare cases of physical violence have been reported, but threats are commonplace: according to one study, one in four journalists received threats in one way or another.