Norwegian Culture Minister seeks to stop big tech from censoring state media
To prevent large “big and faceless” tech companies from acting as gatekeepers, Anette Trettebergstuen intends to create a “white list” of publisher-controlled outlets that should be safe from ” a totally unreasonable interference with media freedom â.
Norway’s new Culture Minister Anette Trettebergstuen has expressed a desire to protect national media from what she called Big Tech censorship.
Previously, publications by several media outlets, including the national broadcaster NRK, had been suspended by Facebook, sparking criticism of corporate interference in media freedom.
âThe big faceless Big Tech companies cannot be gatekeepers who censor the national media. This is a totally unreasonable intervention in the free position and the role of the media in society, âTrettebergstuen told the newspaper Aftenposten.
To address this, she intends to force Facebook and other tech giants to create a “whitelist” for publisher-controlled media and follow a set of rules to protect integrity and demonstrate of consideration. Those on the list must not risk being censored, according to Trettebergstuen, who was reluctant to make concrete suggestions.
“The only thing that is clear so far is that it cannot be Facebook which is responsible for deciding who should be considered as a media controlled by a publisher”, underlined the minister.
By his own admission, Trettebergstuen intends to take the lead internationally to protect media controlled by Big Tech publishers.
“When Norway takes over the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, this is something I want to emphasize and concentrate my work on,” she said.
Reidun NybÃ¸, deputy general secretary of the Norwegian Publishers Association, said the Culture Minister’s proposal was very much in line with the industry’s wishes.
âThe removal of content is not a global problem for our members today, but a big problem of principle,â said NybÃ¸. âThere should be criteria that are as objective as possible,â she said.
Veteran journalist PÃ¥l Steigan, who has devoted much of his attention to the problem of big-tech censorship, believes publisher-controlled media should be protected from it, while stressing that they should not be guided by membership in the Publishers Association. .
âIt cannot be true that the club decides who is allowed to join the club and who is not. It sounds pretty dubious, âhe told Aftenposten.
Facebook stressed that the company is making “tough decisions on the boundaries between free speech and hate speech, privacy, security and other issues,” welcoming Trettebergstuen’s initiative.
In recent years, Facebook and other social media giants have come under constant criticism for failing to remove âfake newsâ, âhate speechâ and incitement to violence on the one hand and for resorting to a outright partisan censorship on the other hand. According to Trettebergstuen, Facebook in particular shares too little of the methods and mechanisms it uses, which makes intervention by politicians even more difficult.
âIt is obvious that they are not doing enough to bring down harmful content. But the problem today is you don’t even make them talk. So the first step should be to demand openness and to get a feel for what they are really doing. Then we will see how it can be regulated, âshe concluded.