Censoring opinions on online newspapers in Norway

29 06 2008

I use this blog to comment on current events, stuff that I care about and other general topics. My blog is in Norwegian, directed at the Norwegian public – so if you look around and don’t speak Norwegian – there will not be much to read here 🙂 The only reason for me writing in English is to see if anyone outside of Norway has experienced what I am about to explain.

One of our largest tabloids, Dagbladet, has a system on their online newspaper where you can ping your blog trough http://twingly.com . If you have included a link to the article, they will post a link to the blog at the bottom of the page. This is a very good way to get people that are already interested in whatever the article is about to visit your blog. The blog posting should have a relation to the article when using this feature, and I try to contribute something new or another angle to the topic.

I have used this extensively over the last couple of months, and this has generated several interesting discussions with visitors on my blog. I am a firm believer in debating, and getting people from all walks of life in on the discussions is something that I encourage.

On the 26th of June I blogged on the lack of journalistic depth, bad orthography and sexist remarks in an article about the CBS reporter Lara Logan and her work Iraq. The article was terrible, and had a bunch of puns on gender and the supposed sexual relationship between Logan, CNN reporter Michael Ware and contractor Joe Burkett.

One day later I was writing about tattoos, a topic that I had touched upon in the past and the article fit snugly into my views on tattoos. I tried to link through the above service, but the link would not show up. When checking prior articles that had links to my blog, I found that had all been removed.

Apparently the online newspaper, using the addresses http://dagbladet.no, http://db.no and http://kjendis.no had decided to no longer permit me linking to my blog from their service.

This would have been understandable if I promoted Nazism, racism, bigotry, hate, gender negativity, gay bashing or other stuff that is regulated by our legislation. I have no such views, nor do I promote such views in any way. I will, however, gladly blog about and discuss the set view on the before mentioned topics, but I keep well within our penal code. I do, however, criticize our courts on rulings, the police, journalists, politicians and others that stick their neck out, but it is all within what would be considered good manners.

I was therefore very surprised when I discovered that they would actually censor me. Writing about this, at least two more bloggers commented on having been censored as well. They were not notified in any way, nor were they given any explanation as to why they were being ignored when trying to add links to their blogs. One of them had even tried to email the editors of Dagbladet, but did not receive any reply. Apparently Dagbladet is using the silent treatment to quiet views and opinions they do not like. I have emailed two of the editors, and will post any update on the matter.

I find it ethically questionable that they silence any critical voices and alternate views like this, and they alter the perception of the public by only allowing “correct views” on their service. This practice is contradictory to the views on blogging presented in articles on the same site two months ago. In this article, they were encouraging alternate views and comments on topics presented on their site, and the mantra were “If you link to our articles, we will link to your blog”. I was surprised, almost shocked, to find that censorship is alive and well in Norway. I know that countries like China and North-Korea prefer to govern the opinions of their people – but in Norway? We have a long tradition of free speech and a free press here, a freedom that the newspaper enjoy – but apparently not anyone with a different view on things. Here we cherish the fact that you can speak your mind without prosecution from the government, apparently as long as you don’t disagree with the newspaper Dagbladet.

If you have any opinions or comments on this, please feel free to enter them in the comments field below. I appreciate any input.

Update 30.06.08: Today I was contacted by the online newspaper dagbladet.no, as I emailed its editors during the weekend. They claim that the blocking was due to spamming, something I find odd – as I only write 3-5 postings that I link to them per week. I might have been, though, a bit too eager when it comes to pinging, especially when it takes a while until the link is visible. This might explain why I was blocked. Anyway, my old links are restored and hopefully my new links will work. If not, I will most certainly write about it here😉


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3 responses

2 07 2008
elghunk

Jeg ble imponert av engelsken din!

2 07 2008
drittlei

Takk skal du ha elghunk🙂 Jeg har en jobb som gjør at jeg må bruke engelsk mye, og det hjelper til med å holde det vedlike. Jeg ser på språk som en muskel, som må brukes og trenes for å fungere optimalt. Tysk-muskelen min er det verre med.. ;D

2 07 2008
elghunk

Tut mir leid!

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