Knut Olav Åmås

A more exacting and cosmopolitan public debate has emerged in Norway since the terror attacks of 2011, writes the cultural editor of Aftenposten. Yet the renaissance of critical journalism has not translated into greater political transparency.

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The good news for big print media is that demand for quality journalism has never been so high. Yet they need to move with the new technology to continue doing what they do best, writes Knut Olav Åmås, culture editor of the Norwegian daily ‘Aftenposten’.

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How far has America really come when it comes to gay rights and gender equality? Richard Goldstein, editor of the influential Village Voice believes that a social backlash in neo-Conservative America is forcing women back into traditional notions of feminity and is provoking new forms of accepted homophobia.

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Norway’s prime minister Jens Stoltenberg seems to have spoken for most of his countrymen when, responding to the attacks of 22 July, he said that “the Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation”. But this quiet call of defiance has been accompanied by severe critique of the harsh tone of public debate, especially on the Internet. Illiberal and intolerant opinions echoing those held by terrorist Anders Behring Breivik thrive on blogs and online forums, but also in the commentary fields of mainstream media. Knut Olav Åmås, culture and op-ed editor at Aftenposten, joins in the call for “more debate” – even if it is repellent and offensive. Conflicts in society must remain visible. That also goes for sensitive issues such as integration and multiculturalism.

No figure could be further removed from the intellectual taste of our time than the Austrian plilospher Weininger: Branded as a misogynist and a self-hating anti-Semite, he remains nonetheless an important intellectual philosophical figure who needs to be re-contextualized into the fin-de siècle cultural and intellectual landscape of Vienna, argues Allen Janik, author of the influential book Wittgensteins Vienna.