Status: Free
Legal Environment: 3 (of 30)
Political Environment: 4 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 4 (of 30)
Total Score: 11 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Freedom of the press and of information are guaranteed under Article 100 of the constitution. A government ban on political commercials, designed to ensure equal opportunity to the media for all candidates regardless of varying resources, violates the European Convention on Human Rights, which Norway has signed.

In January 2006, "in the name of freedom of expression," Magazinet, a Christian magazine, published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that were originally published in Denmark at the end of 2005 and sparked an international furor across the Muslim world. The cartoons were removed from the magazine's website after a series of death threats were received. In June, 1,500 workers went on strike against public broadcaster NRK over pay as well as conditions for freelance journalists. In July, the home of Nina Johnsrud came under attack after she published a story in the Dagsavisen exposing election fraud by Yogaraja Balasingham, a supporter of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a Sri-Lanka based rebel group.

Norway has one of the highest newspaper readerships in the world and distributes over 200 newspapers that express a diversity of opinions. Concerns were raised over the editorial independence of several papers upon the sale of media giant Orkla Media to the British company Mecom in September 2006. Media concentration is a concern in Norway, with three main companies dominating print media. Amendments to the Media Ownership Act were proposed in March to reduce the limit for ownership of media outlets to one-third of the market, down from the current 40 percent. The bill was still pending at year's end. The internet is widely used in Norway, accessed by 67 percent of the population.

This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.