Sidsel Wold is awarded the Ossietzky price, for her outstanding contribution to freedom of expression and her balanced and nuanced coverage of the ME conflict

Sidsel Wold received a lot of criticism for her coverage of the latest war between Israel and Hamas. Some of the “criticism” levelled at her was not so much criticism as it was an embarrassing show of denigration, insults and far off the mark comments referring to gender and body parts, in lieu of actual arguments. In the noise that resulted form this misplaced aggression, other – and very precise observations – went practically unnoticed. Much ado was made about how Sidsel Wold received a lot of hate mail for her coverage, but few bothered to  discuss the criticism directed at her – and the NRK –  from the Broadcasting Council (lifted from miff.no):

“the Broadcasting Council received around 50 complaints about coverage of the Gaza war in the summer. The vast majority have been critical. The complaints relate to simple statements, use of sources and balance in general.
The Council recognizes that it is a very demanding task to report from a war zone like this, where the involvement of the Norwegian society is so extensive. The Council also records that NRK has endeavored to look at creating balance in its coverage through the choice of sources from both sides of the conflict.
Nevertheless, the Broadcasting Council believes that the NRK has not been critical enough of Hamas’s role
In the early stages of the conflict the NRK also failed  to distinguish the warring parties propaganda from verifiable information. The Council notes with satisfaction that the NRK as the war progressed did manage to present several voices and that the coverage became more nuanced.
Broadcasting Council encourages NRK to a greater extent to convey background information about the Middle East between the conflicts.
The Council expects that NRK has an awareness of the boundaries between news reporting and commenting activity. “

Some of the comments Wold presented to the Norwegian audience include nuggets such as (see link above for source, or posts here from July/August which document her actual coverage)

“If Hamas doesn’t shoot rockets at Israel from time to time, then the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza is forgotten.”

“Nervous Israeli soldiers shoot at anything that moves.” (a statement she supposedly has apologised for afterwards, an apology I have not yet been able to document.)

Also it is worthwhile to remember that when Wold interviewed Dr. Gerstenfeld and her tape with the recorded interview “was lost” she did not bother to contact Dr. Gerstenfeld to request a new interview but went ahead and made up a story with no relation to the actual interview. For this she received the Dishonest Reporter award in 2010 from Honest Reporting

Whilst Sidsel Wold was severely criticised by some for her coverage, in a knee-jerk response from a large segment of the Norwegian society, she was hailed as some sort of saint for the downtrodden. The Norwegian Pro-Israel organisation With Israel for Peace, on the other hand, was made into the big bad wolf  and received several death threats for their efforts to supplement the selective information provided by Norwegian media.  Even seasoned journalists who have prestigious awards called for MIFF to be banished from the public discourse, even hinting that MIFF somehow could be held responsible for the tragedies in Gaza and Israel. MIFF was recently made the butt of a bad taste joke by some insignificant stand up comedian, but nevertheless deemed significant enough by Aftenbladet’s culture journalist: It takes something to not laugh when Sørås compares With Israel for Peace with Behring Breivik “racial harmony”. So if anything, the demonisation of Israel is alive and well in Norway, including those in Norway who insist on their right to have an opinion that differs from the “accepted” one.

 

Lifted from Norwegian Pen (google translate)

The Ossietzky Price 2014 awarded Sidsel Wold

Welcome to the commemoration of the Imprisoned Authors Day  2014

program

Welcome to the Imprisoned Authors day
v / Norwegian PEN Chairman William Nygaard

Presentation of “this year’s prisoners in focus»
v / Head of the Committee for Prisoners Authors in Norwegian PEN, Brit Bildøen and
Secretary General Carl Morten Iversen

Presentation of Ossietzky Price 2014 Sidsel Wold
Award Ceremony v / William Nygaard
Address to the Laureate v / editor Harald Stanghelle
Thank you speech
Artistic performances by Georg Reiss and Palestinian rapper Khaled Harare

Launch of freetown author anthology  “the art of writing whore-poetry ‘
Introduction of anthology work by editor Soudabeh Alishahi
Recitation by:
Aziz Sangtarash (Farsi) and his translator Odveig Klyve
Basim Mardan (English)

The event is open to all and lasts about an hour and half.

About Ossietzky Prize and the laureate

This year’s Ossietzky price is awarded journalist Sidsel Wold. The award will be presented during an event at the House of Literature in Oslo on Thursday 13 November at 19:00. In its decision, the board include:
For years, Sidsel Wold has reported from the Middle East and especially about the Israel-Palestine conflict. With commitment, empathy, good knowledge and extensive contacts she has contributed to important nuances and good breadth of coverage of conflicts and developments in the area.

Norwegian PEN will emphasize her ability to convey meetings with individuals and their lives. Stories that are essential for understanding the long lines, strong emotions and specific consequences of political power games. While Sidsel Wold expose herself to danger, she mastered the difficult art of being war reporter with a broader perspective than the narrow coverage of individual actions and reactions. Her stories are characterized by extensive knowledge, good knowledge of the region and precise observations in the face of people, whether they exercise power or are victims of violence and brutality.

A full justification follows this press release.

The event at the House of Literature is open to anyone interested.

Ossietzky price is Norwegian PEN award for outstanding contribution to freedom of expression. The award is normally given on the Imprisoned Authors  Day.

The award is presented annually to a person or institution that over time, or in relation to a particular issue or event, has made a special effort for freedom of expression. Prize winner must have a connection to Norway, personally or in connection with the present case.

In her acceptance speech she said that receiving the award was a deep felt honour and relief. She felt that she received support for her work and that she is not alone and that the award is a criticism against online bullying. She did however not mention how Hamas’s own rockets had exploded over densely populated Gaza neighbourhoods, nor their targeting of Fatah rivals, or even how injured Palestinians seeking FREE medical help in Israel were targeted by Hamas rockets.