Freedom of Expression Grant to Far-Right Blogger Stirs Debate in Norway

In June, Peder Jensen Nøstvold, Norwegian blogger who writes under the pseudonym Fjordman, received 75.000 NOK grants from Fritt Ord (the Freedom of Expression Organization) for a book he is writing on 22 July terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.

In an article on Tuesday, VG wrote Norway’s Pakistani-origin Culture Minister Hadia Tajik supports the decision of the organization.

– What I fear most is not the opinions of Peder Jensen Nøstvold alias Fjordman. It is our own inadequacy to respond to them. Therefore I support Fritt Ord’s financial support to the blogger, writes Tajik.

On the other hand, Journalist Bjørn Stærk finds the decision wrong because his ideas are dangerous, bordering on fascism.   Stærk writes in Aftenposten that his ideas are so extreme that it is only a short step to pick up weapons.

– Words can be dangerous. All political actions begin with words. We do not play dumb and pretend that we do not realize what can happen when someone appoints millions of people to an existential threat to Europe, wrote he. 

Previously, The Labour youth party leader Eskil Pedersen said that Fritt Ord is an organization that provides a platform for “gay-haters and racists,” referring to both the support for Fjordman and previous support for other controversial causes and individuals. Member of Parliament Snorre Valen accused Fritt Ord of “mockery of all those killed and injured” in the 2011 Norway attacks, stating that Fritt Ord provides funding to a writer “so that he can publish a book about the terrorist he inspired.

Who is Fjordman?

Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen is a Norwegian blogger who writes under the pseudonym Fjordman and who has been characterised as far-right and Islamophobic.Jensen wrote anonymously as Fjordman starting in 2005, until he disclosed his identity in 2011 after the claims on his connection with 22 July terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. He has been active in the counterjihad movement, which argues that multiculturalism, particularly Muslim immigration, poses a threat to Western civilization. Notably, he has advocated the ’Eurabia’ conspiracy theory in a self-published book titled Defeating Eurabia, and argued that all Muslims should be deported from Europe. Anders Behring Breivik quoted him extensively in his manifesto. According to the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, Fjordman is “considered a ’hero’ among the bloggers and debaters constituting the new far right.”

About Fritt Ord 

Fritt Ord is a Norwegian private foundation, whose self-proclaimed aim is to support freedom of expression and a free press. It was established on 7 June 1974 by Narvesen Kioskkompani’s leaders Jens Henrik Nordlie and Finn Skedsmo as well as the lawyer Jens Christian Hauge.

Fritt Ord has significant funds and is playing a part in supporting various journalism and literary projects in Norway and on abroad. In addition it awards scholarships to students within media and journalism, awards the Fritt Ord Prize, and supports writing competitions. 

The organization was criticized by some when it threatened the Norwegian Festival of Literature with withdrawing financial support if the controversial British author David Irving was allowed to speak at the festival. Also, the organization was criticized for its last support to Fjordman.

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