The delicate Qatar matter on the agenda for Norways first Sports Conference

Published 11.10.2021
Ethical dilemmas, investigative journalism in sports, and the never-ending story of sports rights were discussed as Norways´s very first conference dedicated to sports journalism and -production was set up as part of Future Week.

Norway ́s heavily debated participation in the World Cup in Qatar has over the past year has been one of the most flammable topics, as the World Cup, which will be held in the winter of 2022, has received a lot of criticism for human rights violations related to building the World Cup arenas.

With a keynote from Ingrid Ahlsen from Rafto (photo, right) and a debate panel consisting of John Peder Egenæs (Amnesty), Gro Tvedt Anderssen (Norwegian Football Association), Leif Welhaven (VG), Mari Norbakk (CMI), and Mina Finstad Berg (TV2), the discussion on how the matter was covered in Norwegian Media were on the agenda. Leif Welhaven (VG) was especially critical of the lack of courage in Norwegian media outlets to really shed critical light on Qatar and stated that the overall coverage has been deficient, embarrassing, or completely absent. Both John Peder Egenæs (Amnesty) and TV 2 sports commentator Mina Finstad Berg partly agreed and agreed that the coverage and the critical focus need to be strengthened in the future to have more impact. 

The future of sports rights in the Norwegian media 

Another engaging debate was the discussion around the rights for broadcast of different sports, and the winners and losers when it comes to the different stakeholders. There has been a dramatic shift in the balance of power among the sports licenses in Norway. The debate started with a presentation from Kristian Oma (NENT), regarding NENT ́s future plans, as they now have taken over the cross country broadcast rights from NRK and the Premier League from TV 2. This was followed by a debate led by Gunnar Grindstein (NRK), where Oma, as well as Egil Sundvor (NRK), Vegard Jansen Hagen (TV 2), Helge Birkelund (Amedia) and Harald Strømme (My Game) all participated.

– The major shift in power will challenge all of us in the years to come, said TV 2's sports editor in chief, Vegard Jansen Hagen.

– It is always difficult to lose out on attractive sports rights. At the same time, I do believe that both TV 2 and other broadcasters and media will collaborate to enhance other, and in particular local, sports, and that we can do that in a way that strengthens the totality of sports coverage in Norway. 

F.l: Gunnar Grindstein (NRK), Egil Sundvor (NRK), Vegard Jansen Hagen (TV 2), Helge Birkelund (Amedia), Harald Strømme (My Game) and Kristian Oma (NENT). Investigative journalism in sports

The conference also dwelled into the best of investigative journalism within sports, where the work of the investigate journalists Hanne Marie Breivik (NRK), Øystein Hernes (VG), Johanna Bäckström Lerneby (SVT), and Trine Melheim Næss (TV2) were presented to much applause from the audience.

Innovation and inspiration were also discussed, and in particular how to utilize new tools and technology to produce better content, more efficient and with fewer resources.

The conference was a collaboration between NCE Media, TV 2 Sporten, and Ennem.

Johanna Bäckström Lerneby (SVT)

Mats Haugland, Stavanger Aftenblad.