The Fritt Ord Foundation Competition for Upper Secondary School is an annual competition that invites pupils to submit entries about freedom of expression and democracy. This year's topic is propaganda. Write a text or make a media production about the many faces of propaganda. Feel free to be concrete and address issues in the local community, in Norway or in the world, past or present.
The deadline is Thursday, 1 March 2018, at 11.59 p.m.
Take a look at www.frittordkonkurransen.no
for relevant reading material, suggestions from the jury and earlier winners, and for further information about submitting your entry. Good luck!
What is required for something to be branded as propaganda?
Many individuals and organisations would like to influence others through reasoning and discussion, and naturally, there is nothing wrong with that. It is a good thing. However, using dishonest arguments, half truths, lies and exaggeration crosses the line and constitutes propaganda.
Propaganda is intentional manipulation of people's thoughts and feelings using powerful means to promote particular opinions and behavioural patterns, according to the Norwegian encyclopaedia.
A prime example is how the regime in North Korea and its leader Kim Jung-un use propaganda for their own aggrandisement, while authentic reports of hunger, torture, poor economy, the violation of human rights and the lack of freedom are censored and strictly banned.
But perhaps we need not look as far away as to North Korea to find examples of propaganda? We are also looking for examples and discussions that are valid by Norwegian standards.
What about the parliamentary election in Norway in autumn 2017? Lately, there has been a great deal of talk about populism, echo chambers, fake news and voters who did not know what was in their own best interest in connection with elections in the USA, the UK, France and other countries. Now that we have discussed neo-Nazi's right to demonstrate, catered to Imams and hashed over Norwegian values, do we see tendencies towards propaganda here?
Today's media society presupposes that almost everyone is online and interacting with the media constantly. Social media are used to publish, communicate and glean information, but does that make it easier to communicate propaganda, or does the situation make it easier to detect and stop propaganda? Both apply, but we need analyses to show how propaganda is being used. Such analyses will show how messages are conveyed, enabling us to figure out whether something qualifies to be called propaganda. That may be a good starting point for considering how we should deal with such texts and messages.
About the competition:
The Fritt Ord Foundation Competition for Upper Secondary School is an annual competition that invites pupils to submit entries about freedom of expression and democracy. Pupils can participate on their own or as part of classroom activities. They can work individually or in groups, and pupils are invited to submit entries in different genres: Audio, video or online productions, essays or articles. The Fritt Ord Foundation organises seminars for teachers and offers school visits and supervision for participants. Feel free to contact Fritt Ord if you are an upper secondary school teacher and have questions about the competition. All entries are considered by a jury consisting of researchers, teachers and journalists.
Two prizes are awarded, each of them a grant for NOK 20 000. In addition, the prize laureates will win a study tour to Strasbourg, where they will visit the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights and the EU Parliament.
Joakim E. Lie, project manager for the Fritt Ord Foundation Competition
Mobile: +47 915 60770