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Ongoing project

The state of freedom of speech in Norway 2020–2021

What are the greatest challenges to freedom of expression today? The public debate on freedom of expression is distinguished by strong opinions and numerous warnings. There is growing unrest about freedom of expression as the foundation of truth-seeking, knowledge, democracy and the formation of opinion.

Project period January 2020 - December 2021
Project employer Fritt Ord
Project nr. 10434
Project leader Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud

This project is a continuation of former research projects on The state of freedom of speech in Norway, carried out by the Institute of Social Research  on behalf of – the Freedom of expression foundation in cooperation with researchers at The university in Oslo and Bergen and FAFO.

Project Background

In the first round of the project (2013-14), 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 the second round of the project (2015-17) we explored more in depth the dynamics of public debate, focusing on the key actors in defining public discussions as well as on the normative processes regulating which opinions and ‘voices’ are expressed in the public and which are silenced.

Project Aim

In the new project we focus in particular on changes in public opinion and whether new developments and trends in public political debates and media landscapes and new technology affect how and where people draw the lines for what they regard as acceptable expressions in public space – for themselves and others.

We furthermore study in depth how freedom of speech is protected, respected or challenged within the field of science and research, asking how members of academia experience barriers and conditions for truth seeking, dissemination and deliberation over research findings.


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Bernard Enjolras Research Professor, Director Center for research on civil society and voluntary sector PhD +47 976 89 237
Johannes Due Enstad Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 971 37 554
Henning Finseraas Affiliated Researcher PhD +47 482 83 631
Audun Fladmoe Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 924 82 023
Marte Mangset Affiliated Researcher PhD +47 991 65 659
Arnfinn H. Midtbøen Associate Professor, Research Professor PhD +47 920 82 553
Andrea Csaszni Rygh Research Assistant M. Sc. +47 934 01 885
Kari Steen-Johnsen Research Professor PhD +47 906 49 417
Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud Research Professor PhD +47 951 09 236
Dag Wollebæk Research Professor PhD
Hallvard Moe (UiB)
Vidar Strømme (Schjødt)
Tags: Working Life, Elections and Democracy, Civil Society
Published Aug. 17, 2020 12:31 PM - Last modified Apr. 30, 2021 11:49 AM