[NO] More independence and predictability in media support cases

IRIS 2021-2:1/37

Gudbrand Guthus

Norwegian Media Authority

On 1 January 2021, the act relating to financial support for the media, mediestøtteloven (Media Support Act), entered into force. Until the entry into force of this act, the legal basis for grant schemes was decisions made by the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) pursuant to the Fiscal Budget.

The overall purpose of the act is to promote the diversity of editor-controlled journalistic media throughout Norway. The act stipulates the purpose behind five grant schemes for direct media support.

The act will contribute to establishing predictable financial frameworks for media activity. A new political instrument comes in the form of a four-year governing plan for media support. In the year following elections to the Storting, the government will propose a governing plan to the Storting. Elections to the Storting take place every four years; the next elections are due to be held in September 2021. A fixed, long-term financial framework for NRK, the publicly owned public service broadcaster, as well as fixed, long-term frameworks for direct grant schemes for media support will be included in the four-year governing plan.

The new act will provide increased independence in managing media support.

According to the act, Medietilsynet (Norwegian Media Authority - NMA) processes applications, makes decisions on the allocation of grants, disburses grants and audits the use of granted funds in accordance with the grant schemes for direct media support. The NMA disburses grants to NRK in accordance with the Storting’s budgetary decisions and manages the funds for commercial public service broadcasting in accordance with both the Storting’s budgetary decisions and the agreement on commercial public service broadcasting in effect at the time.

Individual decisions on grants made by the NMA can be appealed to the Medieklagenemnda (Media Appeals Board).

The act states that the government cannot instruct the NMA or the Media Appeals Board regarding decisions in individual cases. Furthermore, the government cannot change decisions made by the NMA or the Appeals Board or make decisions in such cases.


This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.