Norway TV Editor on Ethics in Reporting on 2011 Oslo Attacks

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(Credit: TV2, screenshot)

Norway’s TV2 conducted an internal review to analyze its reporting on the breaking news during the July 2011 Norway shootings and bombing by white supremacist Anders Behring Breivik, reported.

TV2’s news editor, Nicklas Lysvag, provided details of the station’s review and reporting at the News World Summit, and explained that “The ethical choices came at us at a furious pace” during the reporting.  The News World Summit took place May 30-June 1 in Paris. It is a project of the Global Editors Network.

According to the News World Summit’s report, Lysvag said the reporting on the massacre that left 77 people dead, many of them children, was “a heart thing, not a brain thing for several days there.”

For example, TV2 opted against providing details and airing footage it knew of the shooting because it “waited for the authorities,” according to the transcript of Lysvag’s talk published on  And, the station reported on faulty information from the New York Times and the BBC, noting in hindsight, “why would they know” as international media?

Further, Lysvag admitted that TV2 “did continue to speculate towards Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups” as behind the attack, even though the network knew by 7 p.m. otherwise.  (Breivik, a Norwegian, was arrested and is on trial for the attacks.)

Lysvag also highlighted “double standards” in airing graphic footage, a double standard that iMediaEthics has reported on previously.  As Lysvag explained, TV2 didn’t air a lot of graphic pictures, while other outlets did.

“Would we have published it if it had happened in Asia or Africa? Yes we would – that’s double standards,” he is quoted as saying.  Similarly, iMediaEthics highlighted late last year a “troubling double standard” in photojournalism where American media will publish graphic photos of dead or injured foreigners, but not similar photos of dead Americans.

We have written to TV2 to ask for more information about its ethical decisions and will update with any response.

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Norway TV Editor on Ethics in Reporting on 2011 Oslo Attacks

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