Veteran newscaster slams ‘undemocratic’ TV2

Veteran newscaster slams 'undemocratic' TV2
Party leaders at at TV2 debate in 2012. File photo: Fredrik Varfjell/Scanpix
Norwegian primetime veteran Per Ståle Lønning has dubbed the TV2 broadcaster's decision to bar smaller parties from televised debates "undemocratic". Norwegians head to the polls in September.

TV2 usually hosts party leader debates but neither the Green Party (De Grønne) or the socialist Red Party (Rødt) have been invited to the politico pulpit, despite their voter support in the last elections almost qualifying them for seats in Stortinget, according to a review by the NTB news agency. 

The decision has provoked the ire of Per Ståle Lønning, who has worked for the news channel, as well as public service radio. Speaking with the left-leaning Klassekampen newspaper, he said that only allowing established parties to take part in debates threatens "political diversity" in Norway. 

"The media is blocking the way for increased political diversity in Norway," Lønning said, adding that public service broadcaster NRK were slightly better at the task. 

 "It is undemocratic that media works against diversity in Norwegian politics." 

TV2, meanwhile, has defended its policy by stating that they only allow parties with representation in parliament to take part, but added that smaller parties are invited to question party leaders in other televised fora. 

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