The Fritt Ord Tribute
Nina Johnsrud is awarded the Freedom of Expression Tribute for her courageous journalism and defence of freedom of expression.
On 12 October this year, Nina Johnsrud, a crime reporter with the newspaper Dagsavisen, received a threat after having exposed the story that Islamic fundamentalists are taking hunting licence tests in Norway to procure weapons legally. The head of the group the Prophet’s Ummah has been remanded into custody and charged with threating two journalists in addition to other charges.
Johnsrud stated to the online newspaper Nettavisen on 26 October: “The only way to handle this is to bring it to the attention of the public, continue to focus on the situation, and urge colleagues to do the same.”
As a journalist, Johnsrud has been covering major crimes for a number of years. This not the first time that she has received serious threats as a result of her work. In 2006, four shots were fired at Johnsrud’s home. Aftenposten wrote that the episode might have been “the most serious attack ever made on a journalist in Norway”. The case was never solved.
This past summer, the Norwegian Union of Journalists conducted a survey among all Norwegian journalists, which indicated that 20 per cent of them have received threats within the past five years. The survey shows that crime journalists are especially vulnerable, with six of 10 replying that they had received threats during this period. Johnsrud’s fearless way of dealing with this type of threat against freedom of expression and the press is worthy of respect and recognition.
Nina Johnsrud (b. 1959) was educated at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian School of Journalism. For many years, she has worked in Dagsavisen (formerly Arbeiderbladet), in addition to the newspapers Lindesnes, Bergens Arbeiderblad, VG, Østlandets blad and Klassekampen. Johnsrud has taught at the Norwegian School of Journalism, and in 1990, she was one of the founders of the Foundation for Critical and Investigative Press (SKUP).
The Freedom of Expression Tribute acknowledges remarkable efforts to promote free speech, often in connection with current events. Tributes are accompanied by a cash award of NOK 100 000. The Tribute was awarded at the Fritt Ord Foundation’s premises on Thursday, 22 November 2012.