Norway’s New(s) Wars—Syria in the Norwegian Mass Media

  • Rune Ottosen Oslomet—storbyuniversitetet
Emneord (Nøkkelord): fredsjournalistikk, folkerett, norsk presse, Syria, Libya

Sammendrag

Through two case studies, this article will explore how Norwegian news media framed the Norwegian military presence in Syria. Earlier research by the author has shown how the legal aspects of NATO’s out-of-area operations have been ignored by mainstream media. In this study, emphasis will be put on self-censorship among Norwegian journalists, ignoring the fact that Norwegian special forces took part in military operations inside Syria from May 2017 to March 2018. The hypothesis based on Johan Galtung’s (2002) theory of peace journalism is that mainstream media refused to see the connection between Norway’s bombing of Libya and the escalation of the ‘civil war’ in Syria. According to legal experts, the Norwegian military presence in Syria was a violation of international law, as it supported rebel groups in armed confrontation with the Assad government, recognized by the Norwegian state through diplomatic relations. The hypothesis of the study—based on an explorative investigation of selected Norwegian news media—is that Norwegian politicians, silently supported by the media, have changed basic principles of Norwegian security policy without an open public debate. Before 1999, Norway was a loyal NATO member based on the notion that NATO was a ‘defense alliance’. After the change in NATO strategy to the new out-of-area policy, Norway has in practice become a ‘military tool’ in the geopolitical strategy of the US. This change of policy has, to a large extent, happened without critical investigation by mainstream media. The article presents two case studies of how Norwegian media dealt with the legal issues when Norway was asked to contribute in Syria, and how the Norwegian military presence was reported by Norwegian media in the periods December 2015 to January 2016, as well as May 2017 to March 2018.

Forfatterbiografi

Rune Ottosen, Oslomet—storbyuniversitetet

(b. 1950) is Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the Oslo Metropolitan University. He has written extensively on press history and media coverage of war and conflicts. He is co-author with Stig Arne Nohrstedt of several books, the latest New Wars, New Media and New War Journalism (Nordicom, 2014). He was one of the editors and co-authors of the four-volume Norwegian press history Norsk presses historie 1–4: 1660–2010 (Universitetsforlaget, 2010). He is Vice President of the Norwegian PEN and a member of the Norwegian UNESCO commission.

Takksigelse: Many thanks to my research assistants Belinda Jørandli Rudsengen and Ida Bing for excellent work. Many thanks to the reviewers for critical comments.

Referanser

Bennett, W. Lance, Regina G. Lawrence, and Steven Livingston. 2007. When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226042862.001.0001.

Bing, Ida. 2018. When We Crossed the Border: An Analysis of How Norwegian Press Covered Norway’s Military Contribution in Syria. Unpublished thesis. Oslo: Oslo Metropolitan University.

Braanen, Bjørgulv. 2017. “Ut av Syria”, Klassekampen, June 16. Via Retriever, pages not stated. Also available online, June 16: https://www.klassekampen.no/article/20170616/article/170619972 [August 17, 2019].

Ebbing, Hans. 2017. “Syria versus Krim”, Klassekampen, June 13. Via Retriever, pages not stated.

Egeberg, Kristoffer. 2017. Fredsnasjonen Norge. Oslo: Kagge Forlag.

Eide, Elisabeth, and Rune Ottosen (eds.). 2002. Krigens retorikk: Medier, myter og konflikter etter 11. september. Oslo: Cappelen Damm.

Eilertsen, Trine (and unnamed others: ‘leder’). 2017. “Aftenposten mener: Riktig å reagere mot bruk av kjemiske våpen”, Aftenposten, April 8. Via Retriever, pages not stated. Also available online, April 7: https://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/leder/i/vo4lj/aftenposten-mener-riktig-a-reagere-mot-bruk-av-kjemiske-vapen [August 17, 2019].

Eskeland, Ståle. 2011. De mest alvorlige forbrytelser. Oslo: Cappelen Damm.

Galtung, Johan. 2002. “Peace Journalism: A Challenge”, in Journalism and the New World Order 2: Studying War and the Media, edited by Wilhelm Kempf and Heikki Luostarinen. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 260–280.

Godal-utvalget (author unknown). 2016. NOU 2016:8—En god alliert: Norge i Afghanistan 2001–2014. Oslo: Statsministerens Kontor. Available online: https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/09faceca099c4b8bac85ca8495e12d2d/no/pdfs/nou201620160008000dddpdfs.pdf [December 13, 2018].

Goodman, Amy (mod.), and Wesley Clark. 2007. “Gen. Wesley Clark Weighs Presidential Bid: ‘I Think About It Every Day’”, Democracy Now! War and Peace Report, March 2. Available online: https://www.democracynow.org/shows/2007/3/2 [June 5, 2019].

Hallin, Daniel. 1986. The Uncensored War: The Media and Vietnam. New York: Oxford University Press.

Heier, Tormod, Rune Ottosen, and Terje Tvedt (eds.). 2019. Libya: Krigens uutholdelige letthet. Oslo: Cappelen Damm.

Hellestveit, Cecilie. 2015. “Syria-krigen og folkeretten”, Klassekampen, December 15. Via Retriever, pages not stated.

Hellestveit, Cecilie. 2017. Syria: En stor krig i en liten verden. Oslo: Pax Forlag.

Helseth, Einar Dahle. 2007. Norsk deltakelse i out-of-area-operasjoner: Verdistyrt eller realisme? Analyse av debattene i Stortinget omkring NATOs out-of-area-strategi, 1997–1999, med hovedvekt på debatten i forbindelse med operasjon Allied Force, mars–juni 1999. Master thesis. Oslo: University of Oslo.

Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. 2002 [1988]. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Reprint edition with a new introduction. New York: Pantheon Books.

Hersh, Seymour M. 2013. “Whose Sarin?”, London Review of Books 35:24, 9–12. Digital object identifier not available: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n24/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin [October 31, 2019].

Langford, Malcolm, and Geir Ulfstein. 2017. “USAs angrep mot Syria var ulovlig”, Aftenposten, April 11. Via Retriever, pages not stated. Also available online, April 10: https://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/debatt/i/Aa4nz/kort-sagt_-11-april [August 17, 2019].

Leira, Halvard (ed.). 2007. Norske selvbilder og norsk utenrikspolitikk. Oslo: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs [NUPI].

Libya-utvalget (author unknown). 2018. Evaluering av norsk deltakelse i Libya-operasjonene i 2011: Rapport fra Libya-utvalget. Oslo: Statsministerens Kontor. Available online: https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/departementene/fd/dokumenter/rapporter-og-regelverk/libya-rapporten.pdf [June 5, 2019].

Lippe, Berit von der. 2019. “Beskyttelse av hva og for hvem—hvordan og når? Da en retorisk situasjon ble en R2P-situasjon”, in Libya: Krigens uutholdelige letthet, edited by Tormod Heier, Rune Ottosen, and Terje Tvedt. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 191–212.

Lynch, Jake, and Annabel McGoldrick. 2005. Peace Journalism. Stroud: Hawthorn Press.

McCombs, Maxwell E. 2004 [2001]. Setting the Agenda: The Mass Media and Public Opinion. Reprint edition. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Melgård, Marie, and Sofie Prestegård. 2016. “Refser Syria-avgjørelse”, Dagsavisen, June 24. Revised on June 28. Available online: https://www.dagsavisen.no/innenriks/refser-syria-avgjorelse-1.743980 [December 22, 2018].

Nohrstedt, Stig Arne, and Rune Ottosen. 2014. New Wars, New Media and New War Journalism: Professional and Legal Challenges in Conflict Reporting. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

Nohrstedt, Stig Arne, and Rune Ottosen. 2017. “Sustainable War Journalism and International Public Law”, in What Is Sustainable Journalism? Integrating the Environmental, Social, and Economic Challenges of Journalism, edited by Peter Berglez, Ulrika Olausson, and Mart Ots. New York: Peter Lang, 199–218.

Norton, Ben. 2016. “UK Parliament Report Details How NATO’s 2011 War in Libya Was Based on Lies”, Salon, September 16. Available online: https://www.salon.com/2016/09/16/u-k-parliament-report-details-how-natos-2011-war-in-libya-was-based-on-lies/ [July 12, 2017].

NTB [Norsk Telegrambyrå] (author unknown). 2014. “Solberg: Uaktuelt å delta i koalisjonsstyrke mot IS”, Nettavisen, September 5. Available online: https://www.nettavisen.no/nyheter/utenriks/solberg-uaktuelt-a-delta-i-koalisjonsstyrke-mot-is/8482963.html [August 18, 2019].

Ottosen, Rune. 1995. “Enemy Images and the Journalistic Process”, Journal of Peace Research 32:1, 97–112. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343395032001008.

Ottosen, Rune. 2005a. “Good-Doers or Bad-Doers? Images of the War in Iraq in the Mainstream Norwegian Press”, in Global War—Local Views: Media Images of the Iraq War, edited by Rune Ottosen and Stig Arne Nohrstedt. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 187–209.

Ottosen, Rune. 2005b. “The Norwegian Media Image of the War in Afghanistan: Peacekeeping or Aggression?”, Nordicom Review 26:1, 95–109. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.1515/nor-2017-0249.

Ottosen, Rune. 2009. VG, Saddam og vi: Et kritisk blikk på nyhetsdekning av krig og konflikt. Oslo: IJ-forlaget.

Ottosen, Rune. 2010. “The War in Afghanistan and Peace Journalism in Practice”, Media, War & Conflict 3:3, 261–278. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.1177/1750635210378944.

Ottosen, Rune. 2013. “PSYOPS or Journalism: Norwegian Information Warfare in Afghanistan”, in From Theory to Practice: How To Assess and Apply Impartiality in News and Current Affairs, edited by Leon Barkho. Bristol: Intellect Limited, 71–91.

Ottosen, Rune. 2018. “Mediene må bidra til en opplyst samtale om vår sikkerhetspolitikk”, Norsk medietidsskrift 25:1, 1–6 [sic]. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.0805-9535-2018-01-05.

Ottosen, Rune. 2019. “Mediene må lære av sine feil i Libya-dekningen”, in Libya: Krigens uutholdelige letthet, edited by Tormod Heier, Rune Ottosen, and Terje Tvedt. Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 123–146.

Ottosen, Rune, and Stig Arne Nohrstedt (eds.). 2005. Global War—Local Views: Media Images of the Iraq War. Gothenburg: Nordicom.

Ottosen, Rune, and Belinda Jørandli Rudsengen. 2018. “Ambivalent og historieløst? Norske avisers dekning av norsk militært nærvær i Syria”, Internasjonal politikk 76:3, 159–182. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.23865/intpol.v76.658.

Ottosen, Rune, and Tore Slaatta. 2015. “En Libya-utredning er på sin plass”, Aftenposten, September 25. Via Retriever, pages not stated.

Ottosen, Rune, Tore Slaatta, and Sigurd Øfsti. 2013. “How They Missed the Big Story: Norwegian News Media and NATO’s Military Operation in Libya”, Conflict & Communication Online 12:1, 1–15. Digital object identifier not available: http://hdl.handle.net/10642/3564 [October 31, 2019].

Ottosen, Rune, and Sjur Øvrebø. 2016. “Who’s to Blame for the Chaos in Syria? The Coverage of Syria in Aftenposten, with the War in Libya as Doxa”, in Journalism in Conflict and Post-Conflict Conditions: Worldwide Perspectives, edited by Kristin Skare Orgeret, and William Tayeebwa. Gothenburg: Nordicom, 63–80.

Rudsengen, Belinda Jørandli. 2016. Norske styrker til krig mot IS i Irak og Syria? En analyse av dekningen av fem norske aviser. Unpublished research paper, Department of Journalism and Media Studies. Oslo: Oslo and Akershus University College. [Ed.: Elsewhere (Ottosen 2018) referred to as: Rudsengen, Belinda Jørandli. 2017. Norge, Syria og folkeretten: En undersøkelse av avisenes dekning av Syria-bidragets folkerettslige forankring. Unpublished thesis. Oslo: Oslo and Akershus University College.]

Shanmugaratnam, Yohan. 2018. “Døde etter mishandling”, Klassekampen, August 29. Via Retriever, pages not stated. Also available online, August 29: https://www.klassekampen.no/article/20180829/article/180829956 [August 17, 2019].

Tunander, Ola. 2018. Libyakrigen: Bruken av retorikk og bedrag for å ødelegge en stat. Oslo: Sirkel Forlag.

UD [Utenriksdepartementet] (author unknown). 2016. Kampen mot ISIL: Folkerettslig grunnlag for militær maktbruk mot ikke-statlige aktører i Syria. Oslo: Statsministerens Kontor. Available online: https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/departementene/ud/vedlegg/folkerett/isil1.pdf [February 20, 2018].

UNGA [United Nations General Assembly] (author unknown). 2005. A/RES/60/1—Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly on 16 September 2005: Sixtieth Session, Agenda Items 46 and 120. New York/Danvers: United Nations Publications. Available online: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/globalcompact/A_RES_60_1.pdf [June 5, 2019].

Ulfstein, Geir. 2015a. “Folkeretten må utredes før krigføring”, Aftenposten, September 22. Via Retriever, pages not stated.

Ulfstein, Geir. 2015b. “Vil norsk bombing i Syria være folkerettslig?”, Aftenposten, November 22. Via Retriever, pages not stated.

van Dijk, Teun A. 1988. News as Discourse. Hillsdale/Hove/London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Zollmann, Florian. 2019 [2017]. “Bringing Propaganda Back into News Media Studies”, Critical Sociology 45:3, 329–345. Digital object identifier: https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920517731134.

Ottosen’s contribution is part of MaMo—Section 4.
Publisert
2019-11-11
Hvordan referere
Ottosen, Rune. 2019. «Norway’s New(s) Wars—Syria in the Norwegian Mass Media». Nordlit, nr. 42 (november), 303–326. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.5017.