• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Newsreader banned from wearing cross on air

Richard Orange · 4 Nov 2013, 11:49

Published: 04 Nov 2013 11:49 GMT+01:00

Siv Kristin Sællmann, who reads NRK's regional news for southern Norway, last month came on air several times wearing a discreet 1.4cm long gold cross, studded with tiny black diamonds.
 
Immediately, viewers began to call in with complaints, pushing Anders Sårheim, the regional editor, to instruct her not to wear the symbol in future. 
 
"What I don't like is that people out there can just call in and tell my boss what I should and I shouldn't wear," Sællmann told The Local. 
 
She claims that she never thought of the cross, which her husband bought her on a recent holiday in Dubai, as more than a piece of jewellery. 
 
"I didn't wear the cross because I wanted to be provocative," she said. "I am a Christian, but right now I see the cross everywhere. It's part of the catwalk. It's part of fashion.  It's not like only Christians wear the symbol. I didn't think that people would react." 
 
Sårheim told the Norwegian newspaper Vårt Land that he was simply following the channel's stated clothing policies. 
 
"NRK has a clear policy that news anchors should be dressed neutrally, and we encourage them to avoid the use of jewellery with religious and political significance," he said. 
 
Sællmann said that although Sårheim had not told her who had complained, she suspected the opposition came from humanist groups rather than Muslims. 
 
Story continues below…
She stressed that she had never had a conflict with Sårheim about the issue, and would never deliberately wear clothes or jewellery likely to alienate viewers. 
 
"I don't want to have any conflict with my boss," she said. "I wouldn't like it if people that watched me read the news on TV considered me as being apart in some way. I want to be as neutral as possible." 
 
In 2006, the UK's BBC went through similar controversy after some of its management pushed the newsreader Fiona Bruce to stop wearing a cross while presenting the news. Bruce was eventually allowed to continue wearing the symbol. 

Richard Orange (richard.orange@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Expats say it's not just Norway's weather that's cold
Plenty of nature and free time, but can you find a Norwegian friend to join you? Photo: saipal/Flickr

Norway is one of the hardest countries to settle in to as a foreigners, according to a new survey.

Mother and son killed in Arctic Norway shooting
Flag flies at half mast at Kirkenes Primary School after news that a seventh-grade student was killed. Photo: Ole-Tommy Pedersen /Finnmarken / NTB scanpix

UPDATED: A seventh-grade student and his mother were shot and killed early on Monday in the northern city of Kirkenes.

323 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway
It's unknown whether all 323 animals were killed by one lightning strike. Photo: Håvard Kjøntvedt / Statens naturoppsyn / NTB scanpix

Nature officials say they can't recall such a large number of animals dying from lightning before.

Oh crap! Norwegian gets stuck in loo over phone
The man was apparently overcome by nausea and vomiting. Photo: Björn Larsson Ask /TT file picture

Firemen in Norway came to the rescue Friday of a man who climbed into an outdoor public toilet to retrieve a friend's cell phone, after he got stuck in the tank.

Appeal over Breivik's treatment due in January
Breivik charged Norwegian authorities of violating his human rights by holding him in isolation for almost five years. Photo: Lise Aserud / NTB Scanpix

Norway's appeal against being found guilty of subjecting mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik to "inhuman" treatment by keeping him in solitary confinement, will go to court in January, judicial officials said Friday.

One in four 'on drugs' in Oslo's nightclubs
Photo: Colourbox

City's nightclubs appeal to the police to help cut down drug use.

Philippine ceasefire deal reached in Norway
FM Børge Brende applauds as Philippine government representative Jesus Dureza and Communist representative Luis Jalandoni announce the ceasefire. Photo: Berit Roald/NTB Scanpix

UPDATED: In Oslo, a "major breakthrough" in ending one of Asia's longest running insurgencies.

Norway’s Progress Party wants a burqini ban
Stenersen said the burqini, shown here on a woman at a beach in Tunisia, has no place in Norway. Photo: FETHI BELAID/AFP/SCANPIX

The party's leader in Oslo wants the "cloth prison" barred from Norwegian beaches.

MP slammed for playing Pokémon at defence hearing
Grande's behaviour during the hearing was all over the Norwegian media. Photo: Stortinget TV / NTB scanpix

She said playing the game helps her "listen better".

Tanks, guns and bras: Norway's women join the draft
Selection exercises during Joint admission and selection camp 2016. Photo: Olav Standal Tangen/Forsvaret

They sweat together, they sleep together: Norway has introduced compulsory military service for women, even bunking them in mixed dorms with their brothers-in-arms.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Travel
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
National
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Lifestyle
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
National
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Education
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Record number of kids mark Norway's National Day
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Travel
Take a ride on Norway's most spectacular road
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
National
All 13 on board die in Norway helicopter crash
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Norway violated mass murderer's human rights: court
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
Lifestyle
Modern-day Norwegian Viking conquers Instagram
2,080
jobs available