Media and the Baneheia case

October 10 2023

The Norwegian Press Association and Fritt Ord present a comprehensive report on the media coverage of the Baneheia case.

The report contains three independent studies and analyses, as well as multiple points for discussions in newsrooms and in public discourse.
“We believe it is important to take a critical look at the media coverage of this case through different periods of time. Given that Viggo Kristiansen was acquitted after being wrongly imprisoned for a very long time, the media must conduct a thorough review of their own role. We hope this report will be an important contribution to doing just that," states Elin Floberghagen, secretary general of the Norwegian Press Association.
“Cultivating criticism and self-criticism are prerequisites for the media to be trusted by the public. That is why it is crucial at this juncture to make an internal as well as an external examination of the very special story at the heart of more than 20 years of Baneheia coverage – to learn from it and prevent something similar from happening again," maintains Knut Olav Åmås, executive director of the Fritt Ord Foundation.

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The release of Viggo Kristiansen from Ila Prison in Bærum, June 2021. His father, Svein Kristiansen, arrives to pick up his son after the Supreme Court vacated the conviction of Viggo Kristiansen in the Baneheia case, allowing him to be released. Photo: Heiko Junge/NTB

The report consists of three main chapters:

• A quantitative content analysis of roughly 3 000 articles across eight media outlets. This was carried out by Retriever, a media analysis agency.
• A survey of relevant media on their coverage, use of sources and editorial assessments. This was carried out by a group of journalists and editors, led by Arne Jensen of the Association of Norwegian Editors.
• A researcher analysis of the media coverage, based on the insights gleaned from chapters 1 and 2, as well as qualitative interviews with members of the press, lawyers and those who supported Viggo Kristiansen. This was performed by Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Social Research.

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Arne Jensen of the Norwegian Press Association presents the findings from the report.
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Knut Olav Åmås of Fritt Ord and Elin Floberghagen of the Norwegian Press Association open the seminar. Photo from the seminar: Henrik Pryser Libell
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Eivind Ljøstad (Fædrelandsvennen), Per Arne Kalbakk (NRK), Kelly Lillesund (formerly Discovery) and Kenneth Fossheim (TV 2) engage in discussion during the seminar.
What has the media learned? Einar Tho (Haugesunds Avis), Eivind Ljøstad (Fædrelandsvennen), Karianne Solbrække (TV 2) and Tora Bakke Håndlykken (VG) engaged in discussion.
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VG editor-in-chief Gard Steiro shows VG's poster about the ethics of reporting on criminal cases – in the light of the lessons that VG and other media can learn from the Baneheia coverage.


 Fake images. On the left, a fake illustration of Pope Francis. On the right, a fake of presumptive US presidential candidate Donald Trump. Photos from NTB/Phil Holm and

Are deepfakes a threat to media authenticity?

June 15 2024

A new report gives some answers and, for the first time, the use of artificial intelligence in the media has been surveyed all over the world.

The Fritt Ord Foundation, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford and the University of Bergen invite the public to the world-wide launch of the Reuters Digital News Report 2024 and the Norwegian report:

Monday, 17 June 2024, 08.30-10.00 a.m.
Uranienborgveien 2, Oslo

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Fritt Ord's grants for master’s degrees

May 15 2024

Is your master’s project about freedom of expression, social debate or journalism? If so, you can apply for a student grant from the Fritt Ord Foundation.


“In an age of fake news, AI, propaganda and manipulation, we must place trust in the photographer himself.” Speeches on the occasion of the awarding of the 2024 Fritt Ord Prize to Harald Henden

May 8 2024

“Each day, more than 3 billion images are uploaded to social media, including photos from conflicts and disasters. However, in an age of fake news, propaganda, manipulation and artificial intelligence, the question is often ‘what can we trust?’" observed Harald Henden upon being awarded the Fritt Ord Prize.
His response is that we must trust the individual photographer. Grete Brochmann, chair of the Fritt Ord Foundation Board, drove home the same point, calling war and documentary photography an integral part of the infrastructure of freedom of expression.


War photographer and prize laureate Harald Henden: “Credibility is journalism's most important capital asset”

May 7 2024

“Credibility is the media’s most important capital asset. That is precisely why the importance of having the media’s own photographers on site has not diminished. In point of fact, it is more important than ever before.
“This is because credibility is also an individual photographer’s most important asset. “When I put my name under a photo, readers should be able to trust that the content is correct, so that no further verification is needed. This brand of credibility takes many years to build up, and it can be descimated by a single mistake,” commented Harald Henden (63) upon being awarded the Fritt Ord Prize on Tuesday evening.