Eminem accused of censorship in Oslo

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A total ban on photograpy by professional media organizations at the huge recent Eminem concert in Oslo has prompted Norwegian media organizations to send a unified complaint to concert promoters and arrangers. They’re accusing Eminem himself of outright censorship of a newsworthy event.

The Norwegian Editors’ Association, Press Federation, National Journalists’ Union, Publishers’ Association and Press Photographers Association are among the national organizations claiming that they were prevented from doing their jobs at the Eminem concert in Oslo on June 30.

‘Unacceptable restriction on press freedom’
“Eminem censored us,” Christina Dorthellinger Nygaard, editor of national news bureau NTB, wrote in a commentary published last week after the concert that attracted around 50,000 people to an outdoor sports field owned by the City of Oslo. “It was an unacceptable restriction on press freedom.”

The organizations published their own statement later in the week, urging Norwegian arrangers to make it clear to foreign artisits and their management that media in Norway won’t accept restrictions on their work.

They were all but forced to during the Eminem concert. As a result, photos from the event were mostly of the crowds instead of Eminem, who several journalists noted has otherwise fought censorship himself. Nygaard viewed that as a major paradox: “My impression of him has been that he’s an artist who is against censorship. In 2003 he was invited to the Academy Awards to perform “Lose Yourself,” but in a censored version. He refused.” She can’t understand why he now turns around and won’t allow coverage himself.

Social media paradox, too
NTB and several other media opted against engaging in “sneak photography” of the rapper but rather invites an open debate on photo bans laid down not just by Eminem but other artists as well.

It’s also a paradox, they note, that members of the audience were able to take photos themselves on their mobile phones and distribute them via social media, but not professional media. There were, however, some complaints as well over unusually poor mobile phone coverage during the concert, which hindered social media traffic at times.

“Artists like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John never say ‘no’ to professional photographers on the scene,” Nygaard told Oslo newspaper Dagsavisen. She believes the bans by artists like Eminem pose a threat to democracy. She stressed that members of the Norwegian press were mostly simply surprised that either Eminem, “of all people,” or his management would impose such “censorship.”

newsinenglish.no staff