This week major Norwegian media houses launched a campaign #ETTMINUTT – #AMINUTE – to ask people for a minute of their time to explain the importance of media pluralism, independent media and reliable journalism.
All Norwegian media houses were invited to join the campaign with a majority deciding take part by writing opinion pieces that are appearing as newspaper, digital and videos advertisements.
Most of the content, which is in Norwegian, is gathered on the website https://www.ettminutt.no and will be used as a media literacy resource for high schools students to raise awareness about the role of journalism in democratic societies and the importance of a free independent press.
The campaign, which is actively supported by all media organisations in Norway, is the result of cooperation between the Tinius Trust (a major share holder of the Schibsted media group) and the Amedia-Trust (owner of the Amedia media group). The two trusts offered a free semi-finished framework for newspaper columns, digital advertisements and videos to enable the editors and reporters to add their contributions.
Bernt Olufsen the former editor in chief of the Verdens Gang national newspaper says that restoring trust in the media is vital for democracy. “High quality journalism in media brands must become a certificate for credibility” he said.
“Initiatives like this campaign will help us move forward. In the last two or three years the national, regional and local newspapers have been bleeding. The power of independent reporting has been weakened. The information to the public is breaking up in fragments of reality. The question is what kind of journalism we are left with, when we pass 2020. It is great to see that different media and organisations in Norway are joining forces to spread an important message to society.”
The campaign was launched on Monday 6 March, the day before Norway’s media diversity committee delivered a report on media policy to the government. Established by the government 18 months ago, the committee was tasked with suggesting new policies to improve and secure the future of news media: for example exempting media houses from paying tax on their employees.
The committee was led by Knut Olav Åmås, CEO of the Fritt Ord (Free Word) Foundation and involved various elements of the Norwegian media including editors and Randi Øgrey the head of the Norwegian publishers organisation.
Considering the current questions around fake news and trust in media in the “post-truth” era, media literacy campaigns led by the industry are needed more than ever.
Kjersti Løken Stavrum is the CEO of the Tinius Trust.