Aftenposten editorial on NRK coverage of Middle East: ‘A useful debate’

Aftenposten editorial questions Broadcasting Council’s support of NRK’s coverage of Middle East.

On April 28th the Broadcasting Council treated Israel’s complaint against state broadcaster NRK by rallying to NRK’s defense, lauding NRK for the very coverage with Israel views as an “ongoing journalistic failure”. Now cracks have started to appear in NRK’s armor. Today an Aftenposten editorial questions the wisdom of the Broadcasting Council’s decision.

Unauthorized translation:


Some debate has arisen after the Broadcasting Council’s treatment of NRK’s Middle East coverage. While the report by Cecilie Hellestveit, ordered by the NRK, has received recognition, the Council’s follow up on this report has been beneath criticism.

Frank Rossavik, a member of the council, has been strongest in his statements: “We failed our mission”, is the report by the profiled journalist and author. Also others, on the outside and the inside of the Council, have voiced their criticism.

The leader of the Broadcasting Council, May Helen Molvær Grimstad, issues an alarm over this, saying the Council will handle the criticism during their forthcoming trip to Brussels this week.

This debate can be useful. For instance, restricting the speakers to speak for only two and a half minute, as was done during the debate on the Middle East coverage, is absurd. A narrow frame like this gives no room for nuances and reflections; rather it is an invitation for political posture and captiousness.

This debate in the Council has been criticized over being strongly more of this, than for being critical voices on behalf of onlookers and listeners.

In other cases like this, we have observed debates being far from the quality we have reason to expect by a forum like this. In other words, the Broadcasting Council should take its “reform work” serious.

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