The Norwegian Media Authority
Country report to EPRA: The Norwegian Media Authority 2020
This report was sent to EPRA in November 2020, and describes most of the NMAs responsibilities and work throughout 2020.
Legal, regulatory and policy framework
The EFTA side of the EEA and the European Commission arein the process of incorporating the AVMS Directive2018into the EEA Agreement (the Agreementon the European Economic Area). In Norway, most provisions of the Directive are to be implemented in the Broadcasting Act, kringkastingsloven, and the Broadcasting Regulation, kringkastingsforskriften. A proposal is under preparation in the Ministry of Culture, with the assistance of the Norwegian Media Authority.
A new act relating to editorial independence and liability of editor-controlled journalistic media, the Media Liability Act, medieansvarsloven, entered into force on 1 July 2020. It updates and gathers special rules on liability in the media field and introduces new legislative provisions. The former Editorial Independence Act, mediefridomslova, is repealed from the entry into force of the new act. In May 2020, the Broadcasting Act, kringkastingsloven, was amended in order to give the Media Authority competence to take measures against illegal advertising for gambling. The amendmententers into force on 1 January 2021.
Gambling and lotteries are strictly regulated in Norway. There is an absolute ban on advertising, except fora few companies with licence. The Media Authority is taking steps to start enforcing the new provisions from early next year. A bill on media support is being dealt with by the Storting, the Norwegian parliament. In its proposition to the Storting, the Government stipulates that a framework for media support will be proposed by the Government and discussed by the Storting every four years, laying down steering signal for the next four years’ period.
The proposal to set down a Media Support Council was abandoned. Pursuant to the bill, the Media Authority will be given more independence when dealing with media support cases.
The Media Authority adopted in October 2020 its new strategy for the period 2021 –2023. The strategy is to a large extent in line with the strategy applicable for 2018 –2020. However, it has been updated in light of the media development and the internal situation. Promoting media plurality and media literacy is prioritized, and there is more emphasis on the influence of global actors on media plurality and media consumption. Thanks to a digitalization project within the Media Authority, old systems for collecting and storing data have been replaced by a new system, allowing self-service solutions for the industry.
For example, users are expected to log into the system in order to record data or to apply for media support.
Reserach, methodology, monitoring
From 2019, the Media Authority has a new task regarding media plurality. Pursuant to the annual letter of allocation from the Ministry of Culture, the Media Authority shall establish clear parameters measuring media plurality and follow up and document the development in source diversity, content diversity and exposure diversity. The main scope is the editor controlled journalistic media under Norwegian jurisdiction. The Media Authority issued the first of three reports in February 2020. The reportc overs source diversity. A corresponding database, with an overview of Norwegian tv channels, radio channels and newspapers, is available on the website of the Media Authority.
A report covering exposure diversity is forthcoming in December and a report on content diversity in 2021. The intension is to update the reports on an annual basis.
Over the last couple of years, the Media Authority has systemized its contact with other national regulatory authorities, with media associations and stakeholders on the Norwegians markets and with the academia. The Media Authority organizes annual dialogue meetings with the main stakeholders and the associations of the media industry in order to be updated on the challenges they face and to get input and feedback related to the Media Authority’s activities.
The Media Authority has annual contact meetings with sectoral regulators and ombudspersons, such as the Communications Authority, the Competition Authority, the Gaming Authority, the Consumer Authority and the Ombudsperson for Children.
From 2019 the Media Authority has initiated closer contact with academia through contact meetings and lectures. In October 2020, the Media Authority established a new national media literacy network. Twenty-five organisations, government bodies, enterprises etc. are represented in the network, which will contribute to the exchange of knowledge, cooperation and measures to increase critical understanding and media literacy in various groups ofthe population.
Compliance & Enforcement
Before summer 2020, the Media Authority carried out its first annual supervision of TV 2’s fulfilment of the agreement on public service broadcasting. The Ministry of Culture and the Norwegian company TV 2, part of the Egmont Group, signed in 2018 an agreement effective for five years from 2019. TV 2 is compensated with an amount up to NOK 135 million (EUR 12.5 million) per year for public service content on tv and for headquarter and main newsroom in Bergen. By and large, TV 2 met the requirements. Since the majority of the editorial staff were not in place at the headquarter until 1 August2 019, the compensation for 2019 is to be reduced. A formal decision is soon to be taken by the Media Authority.