Can the public find out who owns the media through free access to the essential information required?
It is possible to finds out who owns print, broadcast and online media in Norway through information reported to the Norwegian Media Authority. Under the 1997 Media Ownership Act, on the request of the Norwegian Media Authority, all media must report sufficient information for their owners to be identified. It should be noted that, in common with Luxembourg and the UK, the Norwegian law does not specify exactly what information should be reported but relies on the media authority to request from the media the information it deems necessary. In practice in Norway this will include all the key information required to identify an owner back to a company. This would include information on the size of shareholdings, beneficial owners and those with indirect interests and control. This information is made public by the Norwegian Media Authority on its website. In general, it is possible to obtain ownership information via the Norwegian Media Authority in practice although the information published on the website only reveals ownership back to a company, not to a real person.
All media companies are also subject to corporate law but, in contrast to the information gathered by the Media Authority, the information in the shareholder register, disclosed according to the Public Limited Liability Companies Act and the Limited Companies Act, only contains information on the formal owners of the shares and not, for example beneficial shares.
DRAFT – FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION: This research has been carried out by national experts and is open for consultation. Please let us know if you have any suggestions, or if you spot any errors or omissions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.