Freedoms of the press and of information are guaranteed under Article 100 of the constitution. However, a government ban on political commercials, designed to ensure equal access to the media for all candidates regardless of varying resources, violates the European Convention on Human Rights, which Norway has signed. In February, the Ministry of Cultural and Church Affairs proposed a bill that would protect editorial freedom. According to Nordic Media Policy, the bill would ensure that owners could not reexamine an editor’s decision regarding editorial operations. The bill was pending at year’s end.
Norway has one of the highest newspaper readerships in the world and distributes over 200 newspapers that express a diversity of opinions. Media concentration is a concern in Norway, with three main companies dominating print media. In July 2007, the Norwegian Media Authority prevented the establishment of Media Norge, a large media consortium. The new media group would have been the result of a merger among several of the country’s largest papers, including Bergens Tidende, Aftenposten, Stavanger Aftenblad, and Fædrelandsvennen. The internet is widely used in Norway, accessed by 88 percent of the population.