Annual Report 2009

Opinions in the Age of New Media

Freedom of opinion and a free society by Ole Jacob Sunde

  • Chariman of the Board, The Tinius Trust

Freedom of opinion and a free society

Freedom of opinion and a free society Diversity of opinion is important. A free and open debate is a prerequisite for the wide support of the continuous development of a democratic society. In the current technological media revolution no one seems to doubt that it is important for the democratic decision-making processes in our societies that we retain central
forums for expression of opinion. But how?
Traditionally, it was the printed newspaper that served as society's forum for the expression of opinion. A positive feature of the technological development is that it provides us with a steadily increasing number of new platforms. However, with the constant moving to new platforms the question arises: does journalism have the power to retain its role in society?
The technological development also leads to disintegration and specialisation of the media. One important consequence of this trend is that advertising revenues and content to an increasing degree are parting company. This threatens the funding of journalism and gives the newsrooms yet another challenge.
Against this background, the Tinius Trust has invited a number of prominent media people to present their views on opinion-forming journalism and how to renew it. None of them has the exact answer, but they all have opinions which inspire debate and creative reflection.
A diverse group of media is represented in the Annual Report of the Tinius Trust. The editor-in-chief of The Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, writes from London. The Swedish contributions are signed by Aftonbladet's Lena Mellin and Svenska Dagbladet's
PJ Anders Linder. Aftenposten's Knut Olav Åmås, VG Nett's Espen Egil Hansen and
Stavanger Aftenblad's Sven Egil Omdal represent the Norwegian media. Arne H. Krumsvik and Robert C. Picard represent Norwegian and international media research environments while Heidi Nordby Lunde shares with us her experience as a prize-
winning blogger.
I should like to extend my warm thanks to them all.