Censorship
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Norway 🇳🇴 is a European country which mainly practices Christianity.

Norway has held the top spot in Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index for the last six years. Cases of censorship in the country are extremely rare nowadays. Mass media is decentralised and private.

General censorship[]

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and of the press. The law prohibits "threatening or insulting anyone, or inciting hatred or repression of or contempt for anyone because of his or her: a) skin color or national or ethnic origin, b) religion or life stance, or c) homosexuality, lifestyle, or orientation." Violators are subject to a fine or imprisonment not to exceed three years. However, the law is little used. There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority.

Norway prohibits "hate speech", and defines it as publicly making statements that threaten or ridicule someone or that incite hatred, persecution or contempt for someone due to their race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion or philosophy of life. A public Free Speech committee (1996–1999) recommended to abolish the hate speech law but the Norwegian Parliament instead voted to expand it.

  • Hardcore pornography was banned in Norway up until 2006. Nude shoots and censored softcore were still legal though.

Book censorship[]

  • Fra Kristiania-Bohêmen - this novel by Hans Jaeger was banned for being sexually explicit.
  • Albertine - this novel by Christian Krohg was banned for being sexually explicit.
  • Snorri the Seal (1941) - this satirical fable by Frithjof Saelen was banned during the German occupation of Norway.
  • The Song of the Red Ruby - this novel by Agnar Mykle was banned for being sexually explicit. The ban was uplifted in 1958.
  • Without a Stitch - this novel by Jens Bjorneboe was banned for sexual explicitness. The ban was never formally lifted.

Internet censorship[]

The five Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway—are central players in the European battle between file sharers, rights holders, and Internet service providers (ISPs). While each country determines its own destiny, the presence of the European Union (EU) is felt in all legal controversies and court cases. Norway, while not a member of the EU, is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has agreed to enact legislation similar to that passed in the EU in areas such as consumer protection and business law.

The OpenNet Initiative (ONI) found no evidence of Internet filtering in Norway in 2009. There is no individual ONI country profile for Norway, but it is included in the regional overview for the Nordic Countries.

Norway's major Internet service providers have a DNS filter which blocks access to sites authorities claim are known to provide child pornography, similar to Denmark's filter. A list claimed to be the Norwegian DNS blacklist was published at WikiLeaks in March 2009. The minister of justice, Knut Storberget, sent a letter dated 29 August 2008 threatening ISPs with a law compelling them to use the filter should they refuse to do so voluntarily.

On 1 September 2015 the Oslo District Court ordered ISPs to block domains belonging to seven major file-sharing websites, The Pirate Bay being among them, as the first court order in Norwegian history to block websites not related to child pornography. A second order was made on 22 June 2016, blocking a further eight file-sharing websites.

Norway's major Internet service providers have a DNS filter which blocks access to sites authorities claim are known to provide child pornography, similar to Denmark's filter. A list claimed to be the Norwegian DNS blacklist was published at WikiLeaks in March 2009. The minister of justice, Knut Storberget, sent a letter threatening ISPs with a law compelling them to use the filter should they refuse to do so voluntarily (dated 29 August 2008). Since September 2015 Norway's largest ISPs also block The Pirate Bay and other similar services.

Movie censorship[]

Ratings[]

In Norway, films are rated by the Norwegian Media Authority, a government agency subordinate to the Ministry of Culture and Equality of Norway with various tasks related to broadcasting, newspapers and films. Formed on 1 January 2005 after the merger of the Norwegian Board of Film Classification, the Norwegian Media Ownership Authority and the Mass Media Authority. Prior to 1 January 2005, films were rated by the Norwegian Board of Film Classification (Statens filmtilsyn), which was one of the three government agencies which formed the Norwegian Media Authority.

The film ratings, used as well in television, are the following:

  • A (green) - Allowed for all ages. It replaced the 5 rating in 1994.
  • 6 (green) - Allowed for anyone 6 years and older. Children below 6 years can watch it in movie theaters if accompanied by an adult. It replaced the 7 rating in 2015.
  • 9 (yellow) - Allowed for anyone 9 years and older. Children below 9 years can watch it un movie theaters if accompanied by an adult. It replaced the 11 rating along with the newly implemented 12 rating.
  • 12 (yellow) - Allowed for anyone 12 years and older. Introduced in 1954, it was abolished in 1994 and replaced by the 11 rating, but was reimplemented in 2015 as a replacement to the 11 rating.
  • 15 (orange) - Allowed for anyone 15 years and older. Replaced the 16 rating in 1988.
  • 18 (red) - Allowed for anyone 18 and older. Introduced in 1970. Absolute higher limit. In theaters, everyone present must be at least 18 years old. This rating is also applied to films that are to be presented in theaters, but are not submitted for classification to the NMA.

The former ratings were as follows:

  • 5 - Allowed for anyone 5 years and older. Absolute lower limit. Introduced in 1970 and replaced by the A rating in 1994.
  • 7 - Allowed for anyone 7 years and older. Children below 7 can watch it in theaters if accompanied by an adult. Introduced in 1954 and replaced by the 6 rating in 2015.
  • 10 - Allowed for anyone 10 years and older. Introduced in 1988 and replaced by the 14 rating in 1994.
  • 11 - Allowed for anyone 11 years and older. Introduced in 1994 and replaced by the 9 and 12 ratings in 2015.
  • 16 - Allowed for anyone 16 years and older. Introduced in 1921 and replaced by the 15 rating in 1988.
  • Banned - Not allowed for theatrical release. Introduced in 1913 and only partially abolished in 2004. Classification is still mandatory for films to be presented to an audience below the age of 18. The NMA cannot register or rate films they consider contravene Norwegian criminal law.

From 2004, classifying films to be viewed by persons aged 18 or older was no longer required. If a distributor registers a film without classification, the film distributor will be criminally responsible if the film has content prohibited by law.

Contents that are prohibited in films and other entertainment media in Norway are:

  • Child pornography
  • Pornography (with exceptions)
  • Improper use of grave depictions of violence for entertainment purposes.

Instances of movie censorship[]

  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) - this film was banned in January 1935 without any reason cited besides the following statement: "The film above is not approved for public viewing in Norway".
  • Espionage Agent - this film was banned in January 1940, the authorities did not provide any reason for the ban besides the following statement; "The film above is not approved for public viewing in Norway".
  • Confessions of a Nazi Spy - this film was banned in Norway in 1939, due to pression from Nazi Germany, as the film had a scene describing the German invasion of Norway.
  • 491 - this film was banned between 1964 and 1971 for homosexual themes. Later, a censored version was released.
  • Apocalipsis Joe - this film had its theatrical premiere banned between 1972 and 2003
  • Pink Flamingos - this film was banned during its initial release until the 1980s.
  • Histoire d'O - this film had its theatrical premiere banned between 1978 and 2003. Later, rated "18" in 1987 for its home video release.
  • Salon Kitty - this film had its cinema debut banned between 1977 and 2003.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - banned due to high impact scary violence until 1997, when the ban was lifted and re-released uncut rated as 18 (Adult only).
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian - this film was originally banned for a year in Norway. consequently, the film was marketed in Sweden with the tagline "The film so funny it was banned in Norway!"
  • Nekromantik - this film was banned by the Norwegian Media Authority due to outrageous, offensive & abhorrent content (Necrophilia, extreme violence, animal cruelty, and/or other material that is disgusting & abhorrent).
  • Kite - this animated film was banned in Norway due to scenes in the film being considered "child pornography".
  • Ichi the Killer - this film was banned due to high impact violence and cruelty. The Norwegian Media Authority classified it as "Rejected", banning it outright in Norway, after the government realized of an incident at the Stockholm Film Festival where two people both vomited and fainted while watching the film. The film is still strictly prohibited in Norway.
  • A Serbian Film - this film was banned due to violation of criminal law sections 204a and 382 which deal with the sexual representation of children and extreme violence. It is still banned.
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin - the Norwegian theatrical release of this film about a mother dealing with the fact that her son had massacred the kids at his school, was postponed from autumn 2011 to 2012 due to the Utoya massacre, which was also the probable reason why it saw little distribution and got snubbed at the Oscars.
  • Cannibal Holocaust - this film was banned on its initial release.
  • Faces of Death - this film was banned on its initial release.

Television censorship[]

Like for films, television is also regulated by the Norwegian Media Authority, whose tasks in this field are to enforce rules on content, advertising and sponsorship for broadcast media and to enforce rules on media ownership. Before 2005, the Mass Media Authority (Statens medieforvaltning, SMF) carried out tasks related to broadcasting (as well to newspapers). The NMA film ratings apply as well to television shows.

Video game censorship[]

External links[]

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