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Political TV ads case in court

The Norwegian TV Vest meets the Mass Media Authority in Oslo County Court next week after the TV channel aired political ads last fall.

TV Vest and Editor-in-Chief Per Fjeld were sentenced to pay NOK 35,000 (USD 5,000) for airing political ads for Pensjonistpartiet last fall.

TV Vest claims that the Mass Media Authority’s decision to fine is invalid, and Fjeld claims that the Royal Ministry of Cultural and Church Affairs now must be sentenced to pay court costs for the television channel, according to the local paper Stavanger Aftenblad.

The case will be heard February 11, and if TV Vest is awarded in the case the decision will have large effects in Norway. However, according to the paper, Fjeld is not too optimistic and is prepared to loose the case in country court.

“We are prepared on the worst case scenario, that the court will say that ads on television are illegal, and then we wish to appeal to the Supreme Court,” Fjeld stated.

TV Vest claims the law against political television ads is against the Norwegian constitution’s paragraph 100 and the freedom of speech directed by the European Human Rights Convention. The television channel therefore wants Oslo County Court to rule if the Mass Media Authority’s fine is against freedom of speech, according to the paper Aftenbladet.

The lawyer for the government agency demands full acquittal for the Mass Media Authority and refers to the ban against political television ads have been discussed in Stortinget several times.

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