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Ongoing project

The state of freedom of speech in Norway 2015-2017

Project period 2015 - 2017
Project employer Fritt Ord
Project nr. 10117
Project leader Arnfinn H. Midtbøen

Project Background

This study is a continuation of a broader project called The state of freedom of speech in Norway – the Freedom of expression foundation’s monitor project, which was carried out by Institute for Social Research (ISF), in cooperation with IMK, FAFO, TNS Gallup and lawyer Jon Wessel-Aas, in 2013-2014.

In the first round of the project, we addressed the issue of freedom of speech from a variety of perspectives, focusing on the preconditions of freedom of speech, freedom of speech in light of multiculturalism, digitalization and shifting media structures, security, control and surveillance and the terms of freedom of speech in the labour market. In this second round of the project we will explore more in depth the dynamics of public debate, focusing on the key actors in defining public discussions and well as on the normative processes regulating which opinions and ‘voices’ are expressed in the public and which are silenced.

Project Approach

The project has three parts: First, we will investigate whether Norwegian journalists and the general Norwegian public’s attitudes toward freedom of speech have changed in light of the terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen in 2015.  Second, we will study the development in media discussions about religion, migration and freedom of speech in the period from the cartoon debate in 2006 to today, paying particular attention to the opinions expressed by editors and journalists. Third, we will focus on three groups that are particularly exposed to critique and harassment in public debates; politicians, ethnic and religious minorities and right-wing opponents of migration and Islam.

The project is conducted in cooperation with Professor Terje Rasmussen and Dr. Terje Colbjørnsen at the University of Oslo and Professor Hallvard Moe at the University of Bergen.

Media Coverage

Video: From the conference "The Fate of Freedom of Expression in Liberal Democracies", Kari Steen-Johnsen, October 2015, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Bernard Enjolras Research Professor, Director Center for research on civil society and voluntary sector PhD +47 976 89 237
Audun Fladmoe Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 924 82 023
Arnfinn H. Midtbøen Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 920 82 553
Marjan Nadim Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 916 09 108
Kari Steen-Johnsen Research Director, Politics, democracy, civil society PhD +47 906 49 417
Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 951 09 236
Karoline Ihlebæk
Hallvard Moe
Terje Rasmussen
Ingrid Endresen Thorseth
Terje Colbjørnsen
Synne Sætrang
Tags: Migration, Civil Society, Digitalization, Gender Equality
Published June 3, 2015 10:13 AM - Last modified June 19, 2017 11:09 AM