Freedom of the press is constitutionally guaranteed and respected by the government. Truth is not an absolute defense in libel cases, and fines have been increasing. A government ban on political commercials, designed to ensure equal opportunity to the media for all candidates regardless of varying resources, contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights, which Norway has signed. A nation of about 4.6 million people, Norway maintains over 200 newspapers that express a wide variety of opinions. At the same time, three large companies dominate the country's print media. In May, most Norwegian dailies were unable to publish when nearly 3,000 journalists went on strike for 11 days before settling a dispute over pensions and the treatment of temporary workers. The state subsidizes newspapers to promote political pluralism and limit the impact of local monopolies.