Friday, December 22, 2006

"We were wrong"

That's not really what they said, the Norwegian television company TV2, but I just saw something I rarely see: a news provider spending valuable space on admitting to unethical behaviour.

PFU is the Norwegian press (which means all news media) board for ethics and professional integrity in journalism. They have no real power, but their power is in the threat about what can happen if the Norwegian press stops listening to them. There is not a lot of legislation in Norway really regulating the content of the media, except what counts for everybody about slander. In order to keep this kind of legislation unnecessary, the press censors themselves, through such boards as PFU.

Recently TV2 and Nettavisen lost against a complaint to PFU. Perhaps not the kind of case I really worry about, producers of diet pills are not my idea of a sympathetic victim, but still... they deserve fair and honest coverage in the media as much as anybody else.

Putting in a news item in a net paper doesn't cost much, but TV2 had a poster (EXTREMELY dull looking) with the text stating that PFU is of the opinion that TV2 and the net paper did not follow good news procedures when they indicated that the death of the mother of an anonymous source was caused by the diet pill in question in best commercial time. That one must have cost them, even if the voice reading the statement from PFU and the poster was about as dull as it gets.

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