28.05.2013

Journalism and democracy. What about the media? What can be done?

To promote discourse on the digital media revolution, in autumn 2012, the Fritt Ord Foundation appointed a working group to write articles with a personal twist to be published in book form. The group has consisted of Svein Egil Omdal (editor of the report), Anders Bjartnes, Paul Bjerke and Ragnhild Kristine Olsen. The committee's work has concentrated on the new situation for quality journalism and the potential political consequences of different media structures. Please note that the results are not an expression of specific opinions held by the Fritt Ord Foundation, nor are they based on consensus among the writers.

At an event organised in connection with Nordic Media Days in Bergen today, 9 May, from 3.15-4.00 p.m., Svein Egil Omdal will present the committee's report Journalism and Democracy. What about the media? What can be done?

The book can be downloaded here (pdf) (in Norwegian, though including an English summary). The paper version can be ordered from the Fritt Ord Foundation - contact Tonje Olsrud: tonje.olsrud@fritt-ord.no.

Nordic Media Days presents the event as follows: "Who will pay for quality journalism when the market no longer will or can? Should the public sector pick up the bill when advertising revenues dwindle? Can new business models and philanthropic funding help rescue journalism? The question is: What happens to quality journalism when cost cutting is the order of the day?" Following the presentation, there will be a panel discussion featuring Omdal, Ingunn Solheim (moderator), Trine Eilertsen, Robert Picard and Knut Gjerseth Olsen.

"Although journalism is sold like a commodity, it must also be understood to be a public good. When profitability falls owing to changes in the market, safeguarding the production of the journalism required to guarantee democracy becomes a challenge for society. This report describes the problems and proposes countermeasures – in the best interest of democracy." This quotation is from the back cover blurb on Journalism and Democracy. What about the media? What can be done?

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My family in history is being organised by the Norwegian Historical Society (HIFO) with support from the Fritt Ord Foundation. It is open to pupils in lower and upper secondary school. This competition revolves around everyday people, making them the main characters.