Open up

Dealing with the media: Guide for civil servants and armed forces staff

Open up

Since 1998 the Norwegian Ministry of Defence has worked with partners in East and Central Europe in the communication field. Based on seminars in Oslo, Riga and Bucharest, this guide presents ways to handle information challenges and the media.

Part 1 Intro
Part 2 Views
Part 3 Appendix
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Text edition


Editor: Gry Tinde, Advisor, The Norwegian Ministry of Defence
Design, production: z:design/Gazette (
Photo: Erik Skjerve/Norwegian Defence Magazine
Torgeir Haugaard/Norwegian Defence Media Centre
6th Division, Norwegian Armed Forces
Petrica Mihalache/Romanian Ministry of Defence
László Vastagh/Hungarian Ministry of Defence
Norwegian Defence Media Centre
Circulation: 1500
ISBN 82-7924-035-7
Published by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence
March 2002

Guide for civil servants and Armed forces staff
Strategies for the democratic control of armed forces

part 1

Since 1998 the Norwegian Ministry of Defence has worked with partners in East and Central Europe in the communication field. Based on seminars in Oslo, Riga and Bucharest, this guide presents ways to handle information challenges and the media.


We wish to express our gratitude to the Ministries of Defence of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. It has been a pleasure for the Norwegian Ministry of Defence to establish contact with all of you and to plan and organise seminars together with you.

Through these seminars, ministry staff and members of the armed forces working in the information field have met across borders and worked together for the first time. We appreciate the open exchange of views on important media and communication issues, and the personal contact that we have experienced during these seminars. Through your participation and support you have shown us that our endeavours in promoting openness and transparency have been worthwhile. We believe that the project in a small but valuable way strengthens the NATO alliance and helps to achieve Partnership for Peace goals.

The many Bulgarian, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian and Norwegian journalists who took time out of their busy schedules to join the debates also deserve a hearty thank you. Thanks to your enthusiastic participation and well-placed remarks, both ministry staff and members of the armed forces are learning how to improve cooperation with the media and to better satisfy democratic needs.

An extra burden was put on the Ministries of Defence of Latvia and Romania, as two of the 2001 seminars took place in these countries. A special thank you goes to our friends in Riga and Bucharest for receiving seminar participants so warmly and for going out of their way to accommodate every practical need.

This media and communication project devoted to openness will carry on. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with our NATO partners and PfP members.

Kåre Helland-Olsen
Ass. Director General
Head of the Information Section
Norwegian Ministry of Defence

Partners with the media

Over three days, some 40 civilian and military journalists, officers, diplomats and civil servants told each other where the shoe pinches in the relations between the media and government institutions. Sadly, many journalists feel that they are a constant annoyance to representatives of ministries and armed forces.

One of the basic aims of Partnership for Peace is to promote transparency in national defence planning, military budgeting and the democratic control of national armed forces. We need the media as our partners to help in communicating with the public on these often complicated issues.

"We are not your enemy," said a journalist with long experience in defence and security policy reporting. He was addressing government and military representatives at an international seminar held by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence outside Oslo. He stressed that an open dialogue between governments, citizens and the media is as crucial as ever. Members of the press from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Norway nodded at their colleague’s remark. During the seminar, they demanded speed, availability and frankness from government offices.

A Navy Commander who heads the Information Branch of the Armed Forces of Norway spoke at a similar seminar that the Norwegian Ministry of Defence held in Riga. He claimed that there are few professions more likely to misunderstand each other than journalists and military personnel. The differences between these two professions’ raison d’être are mind-boggling, he said.

At a similar seminar in Bucharest, a journalist from a Romanian daily mostly praised her contacts at the Ministry of Defence and in the Armed Forces. "But I have had my fill of dull Ministry of Defence communiqées" she said, and quoted a press release: "The Minister of Defence went on an official visit to a neighbouring country to strengthen the collaboration between the two armies." The public will not read our newspapers if this is the type of story they get, she added. As she sees it, readers want first-hand information and analysis of events.

In this guide you will find ample advice on how to improve media-government relations. Based on the seminar presentations and debate, the guide outlines ways of creating an information strategy as an organisational basis for dealing with the media, and how the Internet can be a useful tool in publicising your goals, expertise and activities. The spokespersons of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and of the Armed Forces share their experiences and their efforts to achieve successful co-operation with the media. Two experts in media handling give you advice on how to get even your most difficult messages across. A physician who specialises in stress management emphasises the need for support during crisis situations. Last but not least, an experienced war and political correspondent gives his no-nonsense views on how to satisfy a reporter’s need for information. His remarks reveal the pride and sense of professional responsibility a reporter feels.

As public servants we have a legal duty to be open, honest and helpful to members of society. The way in which countries practice openness varies, but the public demand for transparency is increasing. In Norway we have had a freedom of information Act since 1970. Documents may be withheld from the public eye only if they jeopardise national or international security, contain personal information or form part of bidding rounds or budgetary planning. Strictly internal correspondence and reports not yet finished are also exempt. Once the ministries’ annual budgets have been adopted by parliament, the documents should be released.

The Norwegian freedom of information Act states that access is the rule, secrecy the exception. It has become a popular tool for journalists who want access to reports and letters produced by government offices. Anyone may subscribe to the daily Internet-publicised list of a ministry’s outgoing correspondence and ask for a faxed copy. On average, we release two out of three documents, usually immediately or within three days. Every month, journalists, researchers and others ask the Ministry of Defence to release some 300 documents. We do not make these documents public unless someone asks for them specifically. Letters and reports released according to our Freedom of Information Act should not be confused with our ongoing information activities and publications.

We began holding seminars on openness towards the media in 2000 to support the democracy building of our Central and East European partners. Three-day seminars have been held in Oslo, Riga and Bucharest. Altogether nine countries outside or in NATO have so far participated. As organiser we have learned much about our common challenges in the media and public information field. Following the Chatham House* rule of openness, or rather, openness with discretion, the seminars give participants an opportunity to discuss topics quite freely. This report therefore focuses on the information given during the presentations. Rest assured that the debates were vigorous!

We are grateful for the co-operation of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Our project started out with seminars "In the Spirit of Partnership for Peace", which means that they were open to a few invited Partnership for Peace countries only. In 2001, the project expanded to include the new NATO members.

Together we are creating a true partnership which aims to open up to the media – and thereby to the people we serve.

*According to the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speakers, nor that of any other participant may be revealed; nor may it be mentioned in which context the information was received.

Elisabeth Bødtker Larsen
Director General
Norwegian Ministry of Defence

partnership for peace

Partnership for Peace (PfP), is a major programme of bilateral cooperation between NATO and individual Partner countries. Currently there are 26 PfP countries*. The basic aim of PfP is to promote transparency in national defence planning and military budgeting and the democratic control of national armed forces. PfP also seeks to develop the capacity for joint action between forces from Partner countries and those of NATO member countries, for example, in peacekeeping or disaster-response operations. Enshrined in the PfP Framework Document is a commitment by the Allies to consult bilaterally with any Partner country that perceives a direct threat to its territorial integrity, political independence or security.

Individual Partnership Programmes are drawn up between NATO and Partner countries from an extensive menu of activities – the PfP Work Programme – according to each country’s specific interests and needs. The biennial programme contains more than 2 000 activities, ranging from large military exercises down to small workshops. Areas covered range from the purely military to defence-related cooperation in fields such as crisis management, peacekeeping, civil emergency planning, air-traffic management and armaments cooperation.

Military representations within Partner country diplomatic missions to NATO ensure that Partner country officers are involved in the daily work of PfP. To help coordinate PfP training and exercises, a Partnership Coordination Cell was established at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). An International Coordination Centre has also been set up at SHAPE to provide briefing and planning facilities for all non-NATO countries contributing troops to NATO-led peace-support operations in the Balkans.

*Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrghyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. (Source: NATO’s home page, January 2002)


part 2

Ten presenters with different backgrounds and viewpoints share their experience in opening up to the media. Representing the Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces, the media and private communication firms, they impart strong messages.

Strategic communication

Kåre Helland-Olsen ( mailto: is Assistant Director General and Head of the Information Section of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. Mr Helland-Olsen emphasises the many communication challenges shared by NATO allies and PfP countries. A rock musician at heart, Kåre Helland-Olsen joined the Information Section as an Executive Officer in 1990. He manages long and short-term communication strategies, the development of Internet as a communication tool, services for the media, visits, protocol and the provision of PR advice to Ministry staff. Mr Helland-Olsen holds a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Oslo. His studies also include history and English as well as political science studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Mr Helland-Olsen has completed NATO courses including the ACE Staff Officers Orientation Course, the ACE Press and Information Officers Course and the Senior Officers Policy Course. He has also attended courses in crisis management, crisis information and in psychological defence at the Defence College of Norway.

- It is crucial to have a well-founded communication strategy as a basis for all communication activities.

- Understanding and support at the management level of an organisation is crucial in making a communication strategy work, Mr Helland-Olsen said. His presentation focused on the need for a long-term communication strategy.

Mr Helland-Olsen pointed to a chain of "communicative logic" in explaining strategic communication: By informing your audience, you give people knowledge, which hopefully leads to understanding and, when successful, support. As Head of the Information Section of MOD, one of Mr Helland-Olsen’s responsibilities is to enhance the understanding of, and support for, Norway’s defence policy. In his view, it is crucial to have a well-founded communication strategy as a basis for all communication activities.

"The strategy should ensure that there is long term thinking behind short term activities, such as brochures, press releases, interviews, seminars, publications on the Internet, etc. The strategy should also ensure that you assign the right priorities when there are more tasks than available resources, and make the right decisions where communication principles and working ethics are concerned.

Why do we need a communication strategy? asked Mr Helland-Olsen. He gave several reasons:

  • Lack of public interest

– If the public is not interested in your organisation, you will lose influence and importance. If you lose influence and importance, you will lose your funding.

  • Lack of transparency

– If the public does not trust you, it will not listen to you.

  • Fragmented internal information

– A well-informed employee is a good ambassador for the organisation, and the best PR investment you are ever going to make.

  • Lack of international recognition

– To have international influence, you need to be visible in the international arena.

Mr Helland-Olsen presented certain communication principles that he said one should keep in mind.

Communication should always be:

• Truthful

• To the point

• Transparent

• Proactive

In sharing his experience from developing a communication strategy for MOD Norway, Mr Helland-Olsen suggested that a strategy should be split into several parts. The first part should address the overall strategy, he said. Here, the organisation’s principles, goals, visions and responsibilities should be stated, as well as how, in general terms, communication should contribute to achieving those goals. He strongly emphasised how important it is to involve the top management and heads of divisions and sections in phrasing this part of the strategy. Once support for the strategy has been secured at the top level, Mr Helland-Olsen said, information staff should work out the other parts of the strategy. These are the sub-strategies and the more detailed information plan and task list.

If you detect hesitance or downright opposition in carrying out an information activity, it helps to have an agreed overall strategy to lean on, and if necessary, point to, Mr Helland-Olsen concluded.

Strategic information – the Heart of the Matter

Dag Leraand ( thinks strategy, strategy, strategy and speaks eloquently about it. And he produces results! Mr Leraand co-founded the Norwegian communication agency Gazette in 1990. He is an advisor to private and public organisations including the Norwegian MOD and the Army.

Dag Leraand has worked as a foreign affairs journalist for the daily Dagsavisen and has contributed articles to a number of newspapers and magazines. Mr Leraand was an editor with the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation. He served six months as Press and Information Officer (PIO) in the Norwegian UNIFIL contingent, Lebanon (1984), and 12 months at UNIFIL HQ (1986–87). Mr Leraand has spent 18 months as a freelance journalist in Cairo, Egypt. Since 1980, Mr Leraand has been a contributor to the Norwegian national encyclopedia on African and Middle Eastern affairs. He is a co-writer of books on UN peacekeeping, global refugee challenges and development co-operation. He holds a BA in political science, sociology and history from the universities in Oslo and Trondheim.

- Lack of openness makes people distrust the authorities, Mr Leraand said. In his view, people "have a right to know." He emphasised the value of a communication strategy. You cannot achieve goals without a proper long-term plan, he said. He believed strategic thinking should come naturally to a ministry of defence and to the armed forces. ‘Strategy’ is a military discipline with a long history and with legendary thinkers like Sun Tsu and Carl von Clausewitz, Mr Leraand said. However, the armed forces have yet to exploit in full its strategic expertise and apply it to information and communication. A better label for information and communication in an armed forces context would be ‘public relations’ or ‘public information’, in Mr Leraand’s opinion. He said that more focus needs to be put on public relations in the armed forces.

In Norway, the MOD has deliberately chosen communication – not information – as the key word. This signals an ambition to do more than purely informing the public, according to Mr Leraand. He said that the 2001 strategic communication plan prepared by the Norwegian MOD and the Headquarters Defence Command represents a new element in defence and security policy thinking and planning. In his opinion, the military organisation has a lot to learn from the private sector in the field of communication. In many private enterprises, the head of information is part of the management group, while in the armed forces, this is usually not the case, Mr Leraand said.

He gave the following information on the why’s, whom and what in relation to the communication strategy: The Norwegian MOD has decided to develop a truly strategic policy document rather than the activity-oriented strategies it has adopted in previous years. It is also important for the Ministry to encourage closer coordination of the information endeavours in the security policy and defence sphere. The target of the strategy is the MOD management. Through this strategy they are made aware of the communication aspects of achieving MOD goals. Both the civilian and the military parts of the defence establishment are covered by the strategy. Based on the MOD strategy, lower levels will develop their own strategies and plans. The strategy itself refers to a set of major policy documents regulating the Ministry’s work. Its communication work should be based on factual information, openness and accountability, and it should be proactive.

The implementation of the MOD communication strategy is achieved through sub-strategies for:

• Internet

• Media

• Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

• International cooperation

• Internal information

Mr Leraand said that it was a goal for the Ministry to develop cooperation with other players in the security policy and defence field. These include NGOs engaged in security and defence matters, other government institutions, research institutions, the media and private enterprises.

He concluded by noting that the internal dissemination of information in the Armed Forces has improved through the use of sound and specific information strategies and plans. He pointed to the practice that began during the NATO exercise Battle Griffin in 1999, when the Army’s 12th Brigade set clear goals for the information activities. Two issues of a field newspaper were produced, supplemented by daily newsletters and bulletins on the Internet. The purpose of the first newspaper was to explain the aim of the exercise to the troops, in order to strengthen their understanding and motivation. The second newspaper served as a summary of events and a thank you to the troops who participated.

The internet as an information tool

Ørjan Nordhus Karlsson ( is the Internet guru of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. Mr Karlsson joined the Information Section of the Ministry as an advisor in October 2000.

Ørjan Karlsson came from the non-governmental organisation "People and Defence" where he had served as an information advisor for one year. Mr Karlsson holds a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of Oslo. His studies also include the history of ideas, gender issues and management. In 1999 he received a scholarship to attend a course at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria. Before pursuing an academic education, Mr Karlsson completed the Armed Forces Officers’ Training School and served for six years in North Norway and for seven months in the UN Protection Force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. At the Ministry of Defence Mr Karlsson handles media analysis, Internet strategy, the intranet and public speaking.

According to Mr Karlsson, many government offices throughout the world use their home page on the Internet as an electronic bookshelf. Publications are available, but there is little to entice people to read them, he said. He stressed the importance of attracting the public to the page and the information it offers. The Ministry of Defence, for instance, should be promoted as a source of valuable and interesting information on defence and security policy. The actual steps to take should be rooted in a separate Internet strategy.

In Norway’s case, the vision is that the MOD should be the primary source of information about Norway’s defence and security policy. The goal for this use of the Internet is to achieve, through better understanding, a more widespread degree of support for Norwegian defence and security policy. But there are competitors, Mr Karlsson said. The "killer dot com" scenario applies to the government and its institutions as well. This scenario implies that another information provider has a better offer and walks away with the users. You are in trouble the moment a majority of Internet users selects a different web site to find information about security and defence issues, Mr Karlsson said. It is crucial to be proactive, to be on top of things and to provide early and user-friendly information. Provide an easy search for documents, he urged. Make the information simple, attractive and available.

One of the greatest challenges, Mr Karlsson believes, is how to attract young visitors to the web site.

Our field is not one that usually proves alluring to a young audience. But we want to interest more young people in, for example, applying to schools in the Armed Forces, joining peace-keeping missions and engaging in the current debate on defence and security policy.

When launching a new Internet project, Mr Karlsson suggested the following check-list:

• Ensure that the project is backed by a senior executive

• Develop a strategy before developing a web presence

• Develop an IT structure capable of matching the strategic objectives

• Identify and use knowledge in the organisation

• The strategy must add value for users, and it must be flexible

Mr Karlsson distributed a one-page questionnaire concerning the use of the Internet by the Defence Ministries and Armed Forces present. He also distributed a list of technical terms with explanations. See "Internet Strategy Test" and "White paper for non-techies" in the appendix.

In Ørjan Karlsson’s view, one needs to adopt an ambitious G2B (government to business) approach in order to become and remain a useful, attractive and innovative web site.

An Internet Strategy may be spelled out in different ways, according to Mr Karlsson. He quoted the State of California’s G2B objective as an example: Working toward a "one-stop" government portal where businesses can easily access government information and services through the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "To G2B or not to G2B, that is the question," Mr. Karlsson said.

handling the media

Katrine Adair ( lets no-one rest for a second during their media training. Thanks to her enthusiasm, drive and warm personality she gets away with it. Ms Adair founded The Media Lion in 1997. The Media Lion is the brainchild* of Katrine Adair’s work as a TV news producer in the Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). During her seven years in NRK she often witnessed how a microphone and a TV camera could disconcert people who nonetheless were experts in their field. Ms Adair wished to help people in getting their message across and dealing professionally with the media. The Media Lion trains and lectures for renowned private companies, individuals, research

institutions and public organisations such as the Ministry of Defence. Ms Adair holds a degree in media and journalism from Volda University College (1982). She studied law at the University of Oslo and holds a BA degree. Ms Adair has completed several courses in Psychodrama and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) which helps her to approach people in an open-minded and honest manner.

She has worked with film and television productions for more than 15 years.

Kristin Hetle ( like a journalist and acts like one. She presents chilling scenarios and complex challenges during media training, but seeks – and finds – each participant’s strong sides. She has since 1999 been co-owner and co-director of the media and communication firm The Media Lion. Ms. Hetle’s field of expertise covers various aspects of public information, journalism and media handling, with special emphasis on practical media training with groups and individuals. She has been in charge of press service and media handling during major international events with up to 600 attending journalists. A guest lecturer at The Norwegian School of Management (BI), Ms Hetle is co-author of the best-seller "The Art of Leading Yourself". Her education includes a two-year journalism degree at Oslo University College and a BA in French literature and geography from the University of Oslo. Ms Hetle began her professional career at the Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), where she worked for 20 years as a reporter and as presenter of various radio programmes. During a year’s leave of absence, she was an information advisor at the Norwegian Red Cross.

Inspire rather than humiliate is the credo of media trainers Katrine Adair and Kristin Hetle when they put participants in front of a camera and fire off difficult questions. In their view, a boosted

self-confidence and mastery of media handling techniques are crucial when meeting reporters.

"A single interview may be your organisation’s only chance to convey an important message, so it’s only fair that you get it right," say the Media Lions.

Over a day and a half, Ms Adair and Ms Hetle apply knowledge, fervour and humour in drilling participants in individual media handling sessions. Armed with a video camera, microphone and TV set, Ms Adair and Ms Hetle show participants the power of an official statement. An open exchange of views on media relations in crises and everyday work accompanies the training. The trainers stimulate discussions on the importance of supporting a free press in a democracy. During the training, there are usually lively discussions about the journalists’ role and their wish to make a good story. How to gain credibility is also debated. MOD and armed forces staff sometimes find it difficult to achieve openness within their own organisation. A common challenge appears to be how to win support and understanding at the management level.

Handling the media

This part of the seminar has a dual purpose:

• Encourage discussion and understanding of the role of the media in a democracy, and

• Provide participants with useful tools in dealing with journalists, both in general and in a

PfP/NATO context.

The session starts with a plenary discussion on the principles of openness when dealing with difficult situations. One example could be the exposure of bribery within the armed forces or ministry of defence.

After the plenary discussion the trainers divide the participants into groups and give each a different case to work with. For example:


During a military exercise a soldier is killed in a car accident and others are severely injured.

They were all in an overloaded truck that turned over on a bend. The rescue efforts were badly organised and the ambulances arrived too late to save the soldier’s life.


You have 25 minutes to prepare a media strategy for this case. Fill in the details you find necessary for the story. Make sure that everyone in the group participates during the presentation of the strategy.

1. Make a priority list of whom you need to contact or inform.

2. What actions need to be taken with regard to the media?

3. What will be your key message?

4. Whom do you want to reach?

5. What do you want to achieve?

Each group presents its strategy in a "staff meeting", while the other participants ask questions. The presentation is videotaped and the participants get feedback both on the strategy they chose and on their individual performance.

The cases are starting points for individual interviews, which are also videotaped and evaluated in the same manner. All this is done in plenary sessions.

Practical advice on how to deal with journalists

One should for example always bear in mind that journalists consider themselves to have a right to demand answers on behalf of the public; journalists are always looking for a story (preferably one with a conflict to it); and the journalist’s loyalty is not to you, but to the story and the audience.

Some basic rules apply when you wish to get your message across to journalists. It is essential to prepare a key message and stick to it. To be clear and explicit, and to give examples that make people understand and remember your message.

The participants are reminded of how important it is to be alert when contacted by a journalist. Whenever a journalist calls, you should consider it an interview from the start, in the sense that anything you say to a journalist who has identified her- or himself as such may be quoted. It is always wise to ask for the context of your statements; whether she has spoken to others in your organisation; and to ask yourself if you are the right person to answer. Always agree to call back in order to give yourself time to think and prepare.

When preparing, it is important to be conscious of what kind of audience you want to reach and what you want to achieve with the interview, and to formulate your key message accordingly.

During the interview, it is all about getting your message across. Listen carefully to the questions (do I accept the premises for the question?); state your key message at the beginning, make your answers brief and simple, be specific and use examples, only give answers that can be quoted, speak the truth even if it hurts, put yourself in the position of the public – and know when to stop.

To earn credibility with the media and ultimately with the public, it is essential to treat bad news the same way that you treat good news.

Openness towards the Media

Morten Jentoft ( be called l’enfant terrible* of these media and information seminars. Never missing a chance to question facts presented by authorities, Mr Jentoft is the personification of the investigative and fearless journalist. To illustrate his points during the seminars, Morten Jentoft shows footage from his field coverage of the Chechen war and from political reportage in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. Mr Jentoft has worked for the main national radio and TV channels (NRK) in Norway since 1982, first in Vadsø in North Norway and from 1990 as a correspondent in Finland and Russia. For the moment he is working at the foreign news desk in NRK in Oslo. He has a degree in journalism from Volda University College and has studied Sami, Finnish and Russian languages at the universities of Tromsø, Helsinki and Oslo. He has specialised in Barents Region issues and has written books about Norwegian emigration to Russia and Norwegian intelligence activity in Finland during the Cold War.

- From a political perspective the armed forces are interesting because they are an instrument of security and foreign policy,Morten Jentoft said. Even though he is not interested in weapons and technical aspects as such, Mr Jentoft seeks to meet military commanders and staff in the field. Only by including all actors and affected groups can he present balanced and analytical news coverage. He appreciates being able to shoot TV footage from military activities to illustrate his news reports.

During the Cold War, Mr Jentoft said, the Norwegian MOD Public Information Section’s main activity appeared to be to take journalists to NATO exercises in the North. He believes the MOD goal of these maneuver visits was, via the reporters, to convey to the public that we would get allied help. Now there are not so many trips. The media policy has changed, according to Mr Jentoft.

As MOD information staff, you must know what kind of message you wish to send out through the media, Mr Jentoft said. Having this sorted out, you should begin by fulfilling the reporter’s wishes. He said that all reporters must be treated equally and gave some reasons for this: A TV reporter representing a small station may make a good story that is picked up by large networks.

What if you ignore a small TV station and it makes a negative report that is picked up by others and broadcast widely?

I dislike PI Officers, Morten Jentoft said. PI officers are trained to handle the media in a conformist manner. In his experience, they sometimes divert attention from the issues journalists look to cover. A PI Officer may keep journalists away from soldiers, officers and civil servants who have first-hand experience with the issue or event, Mr Jentoft said. But, it is still important for a journalist to have a media contact in a ministry or military unit. What a journalist needs is a helpful PI officer, he said.

It is important that the commander immediately receives a journalist who visits a military unit or exercise, Morten Jentoft said. This shows the journalists that they are welcome and vouches for good cooperation between the journalist and the military staff.

People who are sent on a peace-keeping mission should be trained to handle difficult challenges – even media, in Morten Jentofts’ opinion. There is something wrong with the system when a journalist cannot ask any soldier or officer who has experienced a crisis what is going on, in his opinion. We need to hear from the horse’s mouth what is happening. We may have no time or interest in waiting for the official PI Officer version, Mr Jentoft said.

Morten Jentoft said he visited the Baltic countries for the first time in 1991. The situation was very tense in Riga in January 1991, he said, as Russian authorities tried stop the Latvian struggle to regain independence. There was shooting and barricades in the streets, and people were killed. As an NRK correspondent in Finland (1990-94) and in Russia (1996-2000), he followed the events in the Baltic region quite closely. He said he was pleased to see the difference between the early 1990s and now. Quite a number of foreign journalists are interested in security policy in the Baltic states, according to Mr Jentoft.

Handling a Crisis

Anne Kari Rom (, MD, prefers to focus on the positive personal experiences of most peacekeeping staff. With the right preparation, follow-up and debriefing, almost everyone feels that they gain a lot on a personal level from such service, she says. Since 1996 Dr Rom has served as Chief Physician in the Stress Management Team for International Operations in HQ Defence Command, Norway. She is a specialist in occupational medicine.

The Stress Management Team counsels commanding officers and personnel before deployment and during their tour of operation, and offers follow-up after redeployment. Dr Rom has formerly worked as head of occupational health services in private business and public corporations, specialising in management support, human relations, and organisational development. In 2000 she spent three months in Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia working for KFOR HQ 5 and Norwegian detachments to KFOR.

– You may make fatal mistakes if you go 48 hours without sleep, according to Dr Rom. You need to sleep or rest for four hours a day. The hours may be split up, but experience shows that sleep is crucial, she said.

Dr Rom referred to different types of crises and stress that information and military staff may encounter. It may be, for example, an unusually hectic and demanding work period, a bad accident or armed conflict. Her message is that you have to understand the stress reactions in order to be able to control them.

Often, managers risk exhaustion from being involved and responsible during a stressful situation or crisis, Dr Rom said. As she sees it, "leader support" is called for during a serious crisis. This means that a familiar, trusted person, co-worker or consultant offers emotional and practical support to enable the leader to make sound decisions. Dr Rom illustrated this with an example from a 1986 accident when an avalanche killed 16 young soldiers in Vassdalen, North Norway, during a NATO exercise. The colonel who was in charge of the rescue operation said later that he would have had difficulties pulling through without the daily telephone conversations with his wife. Dr Rom said she could hardly recommend laying the whole burden on family members, but in this colonel’s case, it worked. Dr Rom encouraged everyone present to establish leader support as part of their organisation’s crisis plan. During a crisis, team work is the key, in Dr Rom’s view.

Definition of a crisis

• Sudden adverse change in the situation

• Unexpected? Unplanned?

• Threatens lives and/or important values

Crisis in an organisation

• Alarm! Acute stress

• Who is in charge? Where is she?

• Breakdown of telephone and message systems. Chaos is possible.

• Where are the plans for handling the crisis?

• The media are at the front door

• Relatives try to get in touch

Managers may feel the trauma of responsibility and ask themselves if the crisis was their fault, according to Dr Rom. They may face very difficult choices and be afraid to make mistakes. She said they may also be afraid of their mistakes becoming known to the public, and the possible personal consequences.

Dr Rom said that people react in very different ways in a crisis. Immediate physical shock reactions include feeling cold, "numb", sick, having increased cardiac action, being agitated or showing a "frozen" attitude. Some psychological stress reactions are impaired thinking, anxiety, and sense of defeat. One’s sensory impressions and sense of time may also be affected. To be able to counteract and control such reactions, Dr Rom said, it is essential for a leader to be familiar with crisis reactions and management.

If you do not have a crisis plan, make one immediately, she urged.

Crisis management

• Work as a team

• Use leader support

• Establish a work/rest schedule: Four hours sleep every 24 hours

• Provide a rest area with beverages and food

• Keep in contact with your family

Crisis management should be demand driven, not supply driven, Dr Rom said.

Media management is crucial during a crisis. If you do not inform the media, someone else will!

General Eisenhower said: A plan is nothing, planning is everything! (but remember where you put it.)

Media Handling at the Ministry of Defence

Be egalitarian: Respect the small media
Do not cover up: You are not the only source of information
Do not lie: Lie once and credibility is lost

Kirsti Skjerven ( Assistant Director General and has since 1995 been official spokesperson for the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. Appreciated for her retentive memory, quick tongue and soft heart, Ms Skjerven is the practically always available link between the Defence Minister and journalists.

Ms. Skjerven was recruited by the Ministry of Defence from the Defence Medical Command in 1990. From 1991 she served as Head of the Press and Information Office. Ms Skjerven holds a BA degree in political science, mass communication and public law from the University of Oslo. She has studied literature in the UK and has completed the Information Course at the National Defence College. NATO courses she has attended include the Staff Officers Orientation Course, the Crisis Management Course and the 3rd Mediterranean Dialogue, General/Flag Officers Course in Rome. From August 2002 Ms Skjerven is due to serve as Counsellor, Defence Resources, at the Norwegian Delegation to NATO in Brussels.

– It is a struggle, but the Ministry of Defence is proactive vis-à-vis the media, said Kirsti Skjerven. Still, a lot of her time is spent on "extinguishing fires". We try to be ahead on difficult issues, but

I doubt if we will ever see the day when others than the media will set the agenda, she said.

Ms Skjerven’s role as spokeswoman has since a reorganisation in 2001 been similar to that of the spokesperson for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the MOD and the MFA, the spokesperson has a general authorisation to speak on behalf of the Minister, she said. The spokesperson’s office is part of the Minister’s small secretariat, while the Information Section that Ms Skjerven headed earlier is now separate. In the other Ministries, the spokespersons head the information unit and must split their time between requests from the media and the responsibility for communication policy, information activities and running the section. Ms Skjerven said she prefers the current model, as it gives her easier access to the Minister of Defence and the possibility to focus on media matters.

Every manager in the MOD is responsible for the external and internal information aspects of their work, Ms Skjerven said. Requests from the media are channelled through the spokesperson’s office, but persons with expertise in the field often answer journalists directly.

Many media requests are based on the transparency regarding all in- and outgoing MOD correspondence, according to Ms Skjerven. Pointing to the most difficult cases, she mentioned calls she had received from journalists who extremely quickly had obtained letters to the MOD from the Auditor General of Norway where financial misconduct was implied. We are of course bound to be accountable to the public for what we do at the Ministry, she said. The open correspondence lists are a tool that enhances trust between the government offices and the media and the citizens, in her view.

According to the Freedom of Information Act of 1970*, all documents produced by government institutions are in principle open to the public eye, Ms Skjerven said. Exceptions may be made for documents that treat national and international security, personal information and bidding rounds in connection with material purchases. She emphasised that internal casework and correspondence regarding matters that are not yet concluded (for example the annual defence budget) are not publicised. Until 1998, the lists containing the titles of the daily correspondence were available to journalists and members of the public at the Government’s Press Centre in Oslo. For the past four years, subscribers have also been able to access the correspondence lists via the Internet. Anyone may request a user ID and read the mailing lists on the net, Ms Skjerven said.

Continuing on the transparency issue, she noted that easier access has multiplied the requests for documents. More than 100 media organisations receive the electronic correspondence list daily from ministries and other government offices. During the first six months of 2001, the MOD received more than 2000 requests to release letters and documents, Ms Skjerven said. Almost 1 500 of these documents were released. The average number of requests per month in 2001 was 303, she added. That means more than 15 requests per working day.

Ms Skjerven believes a change has occurred over the past years in the relationship between public opinion and the media. She perceives the journalist’s role today as too focused on pleasing the public, as opposed to educating it. The working situation for journalists, too, has changed, she said. "Instant" defence correspondents are made overnight, in her experience. In Ms Skjerven’s opinion, technological advances put reporters on the front line to a higher degree than earlier. As spokespersons we must stay on top of developments to meet these new demands and changed scenarios, she concluded.

*The purpose of this Act is to regulate citizens’ right of access to documents of the public administration. In principle any person has the right to inspect such documents.

Media handling in the ARMED FORCES

Brigadier Kjell Grandhagen ( was baptised by fire when he became Chief of the Press and Information Branch, HQ Defence Command Norway, in the summer of 2000. In August, when the Russian submarine "Kursk" sank in the Barents Sea, the media were up in arms.

Brigadier Grandhagen faced the media day and night, in August 2000, answering on aspects of the Norwegian "Kursk" rescue operation. Brigadier Grandhagen graduated from the Norwegian Military Academy in 1978. He completed the Army Staff College in 1987 and L’Ecole Superieure de Guerre Interarmées, France, in 1990. Before his current post, Brigadier Grandhagen was Commander of the Nordic Polish Brigade/SFOR in Bosnia in 1999-2000. From 1996-1999 he was Commandant of the Norwegian Military Academy. His various other postings include North Norway, the Army Staff College and peace operations in Bosnia and in Egypt.

- It is much better to break a negative story early yourself than to wait for the media to find out and handle it their way, said Brigadier Grandhagen. It may hurt you, but it will hurt much less than losing control over how the information is presented. He said that in the cases where he and his colleagues had been proactive concerning a negative matter, they had fared much better than when they had waited. He illustrated with a recent example from KFOR: An Albanian was arrested by Norwegian forces and handled roughly. The officer in charge did not foresee the effects and did not alert the Press and Information Branch about the possible media focus. "Abuse by Norwegian KFOR" was placed all over the front page of national newspapers as a result.

In addressing freedom of speech for Armed Forces staff, Brigadier Grandhagen said there had been some difficulty after the launch of the last White Paper on the Armed Forces. It entailed severe cutbacks and restructuring of the forces, and was a bitter pill to swallow for many. Through the media, some officers openly criticised policy decisions. In his view, Armed Forces staff should express their concerns before such a paper becomes official. But, he said, much more could be done to build acceptance internally ahead of important decisions.

Brigadier Grandhagen said officers may speak as openly as possible to the media on matters they know well and about incidents they have been directly involved in. Usually, the unit commander should be the spokesperson. Armed Forces staff should not give political comments but stay within their area of expertise. As a boss, you have to accept that mistakes will be made, that all statements may not be exactly the way you prefer. The Armed Forces should be an open institution, Brigadier Grandhagen said.

In a recent poll, 66 % of the Norwegian public regarded the Armed Forces as very credible, said Brigadier Grandhagen. This is almost as high a score as the police got. In his view, the Armed Forces is unique in having such a large national network to use for information purposes. Norway has some 20 000 full-time staff, 15 000 conscripts and thousands of reserves. About 60–70 persons work full time on P & I, while there are some 150 Press Contact Officers in addition, according to Brigadier Grandhagen. It is our ambition to ensure excellent internal communication, because this is a prerequisite for good external communication, he said.

We put non-media experts in spokesperson roles during training and regular activities, Brigadier Grandhagen said. We also hire journalists to serve in the Press and Information Centre (PIC) during major exercises. In his view, it is important that these civilians wear a uniform to show the military affiliation. Thanks to conscription, several reporters with military experience may be called upon for such tasks, he said. Our experience with such "hired reporters" is very good, he said.

Media policy responsibility in the Armed Forces

• The communication strategy of the Ministry of Defence is the basis

• The Chief of Defence provides an overall information strategy for the Armed Forces

• Each command or unit should have its own press and information plan, with an annual calendar of P & I activities

Key players in the Armed Forces communication activities

• The commanders. A lot of effort and training is put into using the commanders as spokespersons

• Professional P & I personnel

• Part-time P & I personnel and Press Contact Officers (PCOs)

We encourage the PCOs to be proactive, to send out press releases and invite TV stations and reporters, Brigadier Grandhagen said. The PCO is also an advisor to the commander, helping to prepare for interviews by producing likely questions, finding answers and rehearsing. A media handbook that is issued every year gives practical advice on how to prepare for and conduct interviews. It also contains lists of Press Contact Officers all over the country and their telephone numbers, and is useful for Armed Forces staff and journalists alike, Brigadier Grandhagen said.

The Press Contact Officers’ Course

Commander (SG) Stig Morten Karlsen (, Chief of the Information Office, Headquarters Defence Command Norway, knows how to engage and involve his audience. Speaking clearly and directly, he leaves no doubt that the Armed Forces must treat the media with respect.

Commander Karlsen assumed his current post in 1989. He has developed and organised some 30 seven-day courses for Press Contact Officers and high-ranking officers. From 1989 to 1997 he also served as Assistant Spokesman, and has headed several fact-finding missions and media tours to Norwegian units in Lebanon, Israel and the Former Yugoslavia. Commander Karlsen was responsible for the development of the Armed Forces homepage,, which was launched in March 1998. Currently he is developing and implementing the Armed Forces joint Intranet Portal. Commander Karlsen joined the Navy as a student at the Coast Artillery Officer Candidate School in 1963, and has also completed courses at the Navy Logistic and Management College and the Navy Staff College. He served 18 years in North Norway as Coast Artillery Officer, and 10 years on the staff of the Coast Artillery Officer Candidate School.

- Few professions are more likely to misunderstand each other than journalists and military personnel, said Commander Karlsen. What can we do to promote understanding and dialogue between the Armed Forces and the media? he asked.

In Norway every military unit should have a Press Contact Officer (PCO) who is known to the local media, according to Commander Karlsen. Since the Press Contact Officers’ Course was introduced in 1988, we have trained some 80 persons every year, he said. How to handle the media in a professional manner is too important a matter to be left to chance, Commander Karlsen said. Each individual’s abilities and experience are, of course, valuable. But we feel that the media training is an eye-opener to the participants and a must for those who are in contact with journalists, he added.

During the week-long course, we do life-like drills in handling the most terrible crises, said Commander Karlsen with a cheeky smile. He has had the main responsibility for developing and organising the course, and admits that the participants and he have got many a laugh during the media drills. There is plenty of room for error, and subsequent salvage, when participants answer tricky questions in front of a camera, Commander Karlsen said. Professional journalists play the part of reporters during the course – with the instruction to show no mercy.

Commander Karlsen went through the course programme. He said that key aspects of the course are: writing a press release, distributing it electronically, arranging a press conference, working as a team, crisis handling, interview training, information policy and evaluation of the participants’ efforts.

Top management must support and carry out the media policy of the Armed Forces, Commander Karlsen said. Hence, in 2001 his office began training the "top rank": the Inspector Generals, the Chief of Defence, the Admirals and Generals. Tailored media training for these groups has proved to be very popular and useful, according to commander Karlsen.

The Armed Forces Rules for Media Contact

• Never bluff – give the correct information

• If you cannot comment, tell the journalist why

• Get facts as soon as possible

• If you say you will call back – DO IT!

• Never speculate

• Make sure to clear up misunderstandings

• Know the local media and journalists

• Do not treat any media unfairly

The Press Contact Officer’s Vital Checklist

(If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions,

you are safer when giving comments)

• Is the information correct?

• Is the information unclassified?

• Is the protection of persons involved taken care of?

• Does my unit have the authority to release the information?

A Press Contact Officer Should

• Buffer some of the tension directed towards the unit commander

• Be available

• Be well briefed

• Establish cooperation with the media

• Plan and initiate visits by the media

• Answer questions from the media

• Pay attention to the local media

• Correct false information


part 3

This section provides handouts from the seminars, useful Internet links, additional information on openness and transparency, evaluation results and a list of the participants.


Mr Bård Ivar Svendsen, Chargé d’Affaires, The Norwegian Embassy to Latvia, welcomed participants to an April 2001 seminar in Riga on openness towards the media.

Mr Svendsen welcomed participants to this first information and media seminar to be held by Norway in a Baltic country. He said that since Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia regained their independence in 1991, Norway has enjoyed close and fruitful cooperation with these countries. The Baltic states and Norway have a great deal in common. As neighbours, we share a similar cultural background, many basic values and the destiny of being small nations which have often been forced to live at the mercy of others.

According to Mr Svendsen, the 50 years of Soviet occupation had isolated Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia from the European culture they had traditionally been a part of. Now these countries are making their way back into Europe. Within a few years it is likely that they will be members both of the European Union and of NATO, Mr Svendsen said. Norway warmly welcomes this development and supports the Baltic countries fully in these endeavours. Both organisations provide important tools for security and democracy and it is felt that Baltic membership of the EU and of NATO will help to secure stability throughout all of Northern Europe.

With reference to the media and information focus of the seminar, Mr Svendsen said that, for the Norwegian government, transparency and openness are key concepts in relations between the state and the media in a modern democracy. The public should have the right to influence, criticise and supervise these decisions and, in Mr Svendsen’s view, it should have the right to overturn these decisions if the decisions are thought to be wrong. If the public has little or no knowledge of the processes that take place in state institutions, it will very easily develop scepticism and mistrust of the government, with the result that democracy will suffer, he said.

Mr Svendsen emphasised that mass media should have access to as much direct information as possible, and that politicians and civil servants should go as far as possible in providing the mass media with this information. As he sees it, the power of the mass media in our age is substantial. He referred to the mass media as "the fourth power", as an institution of power alongside a parliament, a cabinet of ministers or a supreme court. Often, Mr Svendsen said, the mass media have the power to set the agenda, to focus on particular political events and to ignore others.

Useful links in the area of openness and transparency

The Baltic Media Centre

The Center for Democracy and Technology (USA) (works to promote democratic values and constitutional liberties in the digital age)

CEESource provide Central and East European legal, political, business and economics resources/links

Central Government Information Policy: Brochure in pdf-format produced by the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Government Administration. It presents five guiding principles for government information.

The Comprehensive Risk Analysis and Management Network (CRN)

eEurope: To ensure that citizens of EU-member states fully benefit from the Information Society, the EU has launched a major initiative called eEurope, which aims to improve the accessibility and adoption of Internet technologies in all spheres of human development:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) works to protect fundamental rights regardless of technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public about civil liberties issues related to technology)

European Centre for War, Peace, and the News Media

Freedom House

Freedom of Expression Links (Canada)

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF)

The Global Internet Liberty Campaign (current issues facing freedom on the Internet today, including censorship and governmental control of encryption technologies)

The Independent Journalism Foundation (IJF) in Bratislava, Bucharest and Budapest

International Communications Forum (ICF)

Internet Freedom (UK)

Mapping the EU accession process

The Master of Philosophy Prog. in Media Studies: 'Media, Democracy and Development' at the

University of Oslo

The Media Development Center, Sofia (MDC) promotes the development of independent media in Bulgaria and fosters capacity building of the media by encouraging good practice in journalism, ethics, networking and cross-border co-operation.

The Nordic Information Center for Media and Communication Research (NORDICOM)

The Nordic Journalist Centre in Århus, Denmark

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

The Norwegian Institute of Journalism

Open Society Institute in Budapest

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development : Citizens as Partners: OECD Handbook on Information, Consultation and Public Participation in Policy-Making

Partnership for Peace (PfP)

Partnership for Peace Documentation Centre

The Reporting Diversity Network (RDN)

(a collaboration of media organizations in Central and Eastern Europe)

Soros Foundations

The United States Agency for International Development: Democracy and Governance in Europe and Eurasia

World Association of Newspapers (WAN) guest column


The Media Lion’s advice on how to meet the media with confidence


• Consider it an interview from the start

• Write down his/her name and place of work

• Ask for the context and use of your statements

• Ask if he or she has spoken to others in your organisation

• Are you the right person to answer?

• Take time to reflect - agree to call back. Keep the deal!

• Do you want the right to approve of your quotes? This is the time to ask for it!


• What does the journalist want to know?

• Whom do you want to reach?

• What do you want to achieve?

• Define your key message

• Formulate tentative statements using the six "secret helpers": who, what, where, when, how and why

• Rehearse with a colleague


• Listen carefully to each question

• State your key message at the beginning

• Make your answers brief and simple

• Be specific – give examples

• Only make statements that can be quoted

• If you can’t answer – explain why

• Speak the truth – even if it hurts

• Put yourself in the position of the public

• Stick to your key message

• Know when to stop

Avoid the term "no comment"

Be friendly and accommodating

Be generous – to the journalists and to yourself!

Internet strategy test

By Ørjan Karlsson, Advisor, The Norwegian Ministry of Defence

1. Do you have an overarching communication strategy that guides management decisions?


2. Do you have an Internet strategy that is fully integrated and supports your communication strategy ?


3. Do you have an overall ‘blueprint’, designed by your own staff, which will determine where and how the Internet can best be applied in your organisation?


4. Is management on a ‘crusade’, actively promoting your Internet strategy?


5. Do all the employees understand the Internet strategy and their role in it?

All do__Some__None__

6. Are your sub-branches tied into your Internet strategy?

All are__Some__None__

7. Do you differentiate between the various interest groups (the public) with regard

to information content?


8. Which stage are you at with regard to the Internet?

Fully operational__Non-functional Web pages__

Somewhat online__No capability__

9. Are your Internet capabilities fully integrated with your traditional IT systems?


WHITE PAPER for non-techies

A Brief internet check list by Ørjan Karlsson, Advisor, The Norwegian Ministry of Defence

Hosting: The physical location where a company’s website and Internet system are stored:

Self hosting – Collocation – Dedicated hosting – Shared hosting.

Hosting – Seven key factors: Performance, Scalability, Availability, Reliability, Simplicity, Integration and Security.


The quality of your service, your response time or ‘up-to-date news profile, will in the end be highly influenced by the following three factors (model: IBM).

Application design – The ease of accessing your information will be dependent on the format of the application and the bandwidth the application demands upon request. Different applications are used in website designs (HTML, XML, CGI, JAVA). The more your information is in demand, the higher the flow of traffic will be to your site. Scalability is therefore a key factor.

Network topology – Internal and external factors come into play here. First you must consider the bandwidth of the interface connection to the external Internet, as provided to you by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Second the configuration of your internal network (LAN). The shape and form of this network (bus, star, ring) will in turn decide your internal bandwidth options.

Server configuration – The configuration of your server plays directly upon your accommodation of user demand, both external and internal.

Disk space: You can never have too much, but by focusing upon the type of data you will store and the rights you will give the user (can the user store data on your site), this question should be easily answered.

Memory capacity: How many simultaneous connections can the system take? Remember – the more your service is in demand, the higher the pressure is on your server.

CPU requirements: Text, sound, images, movies, e-mail, etc. Not only your own server, but also your target group. What is the lowest common denominator ?


  • A Digital video camera (‘Medium end solution’ – Sony DCR PC 110E)
  • An encoder. This is a PC optimised for ‘real time’ broadcasting.’ Norwegian MOD solution:
  • StreamFactory from Pinnacle (Pentium III, Win 2000 platform with up to 1.5 Gbyts/sec data transfer)
  • A connection to the net: It is possible to broadcast with as little as 2xISDN (128kbs). 512 kbs is a recommended minimum though.
  • An Internet hosting server. You can broadcast in both Realplayer or Windows media format, but you need an external server (use your local ISP if you can) to deliver those streams.
  • A point of contact: Basic – Put a link on your homepage to the server which is broadcasting the live event. Medium – Create a separate portal for your live broadcasting. Expert – Seamless integration with the rest of your website (getting close to the ideal of interactive services).

media seminar in oslo

The four-day seminar entitled "Public Information and Media Relations", organised by he Norwegian Ministry of Defence, ended on 14 November. Experts from the ministries of defence and representatives from the armed forces of the three new NATO member states, i.e. Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic participated in the seminar. The participants attended lectures delivered on the Norwegian and NATO experiences gained in the following areas: Strategic information; The Internet as a tool of information; Crisis communication; Openness to the media; Handling the media. They discussed these issues and the possible answers to the challenges of our age as well.

The lecturers and leaders of the seminar were well-known Norwegian journalists, experts, high-ranking military and civilian leaders. Upon request of the Norwegians, the national delegations consisted of representatives of the military media and civilian journalists, as well as soldiers and civilians having ample experience in the field of communication. Dr György Joós, Head of the Press and Information Department of the Hungarian MOD, leader of the delegation, deemed the seminar useful, the discussions outright and the activity of the Hungarian delegation successful.

From the magazine "Hungarian Defence Mirror", November 2001 issue


Sample of form used to assess seminars. Participants gave valuable comments regarding for example seminar materiel that will be followed up. The total average score of the seminars was between 4 and 5.

We appreciate your candid and detailed feedback. Your answers will be treated anonymously.

Please circle and rank on a scale from 1 – 5 the relevance and usefulness of each session, and your opinion on the presenter’s competence. It’s a good idea to read through all questions before starting to complete the form.

1. "Strategic information" by Kåre Helland-Olsen, MoD Norway




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

2. "The Internet as an Information Tool" by Ørjan Karlsson, MoD Norway




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

3. "Handling a crisis" by Anne Kari Rom, HQ Defence Command Norway




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

4. "Openness towards the media" by Morten Jentoft, Norwegian national broadcasting corp. (NRK)




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

5. Practical training in media handling by Katrine Adair and Kristin Hetle, Media Lion




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

6. "Media handling within the military establishment" by Kjell Grandhagen,

HQ Defence Command Norway




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

7. "Media handling at the Ministry of Defence" by Kirsti Skjerven, MoD Norway




Relevant and useful for you









Presenter’s skills






Your comments and suggestions

8. Which parts of the seminar did you find most useful, and why?

9. Which part of the seminar did you find least useful, and why?


List of participants, speakers and organisers at the media and information seminars organised by the Norwegian ministry of defence in Oslo, march 2000 and november 2001, in Riga April 2001 and in Bucharest may 2001.


Dr Mila Ivanova Serafimova

Senior Expert, Information Policy Directorate, MOD

Manol Petrov Tenchev

Chief Expert, Information Policy Directorate, MOD

Vasil Danov Vasilev

Chief Expert, Public Relations Department,

General Staff of Bulgarian Armed Forces.

Vladislav Prelezov

Reporter, Channel 1, Bulgarian National Television

Czech Republic

Dr Petr Kypr

Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Norway

Hana Tichá

Deputy Director, Dept. of Public Relations, MOD

Jana Jelinkova

Spokeswoman, MOD

Sabina Indrovicová

Press Relations, Tactical Air Force Base

Major Juraj Galovec

Communication Office, MOD

Capt Jana Ruzicková

Public Relations Office (General Staff)

Jakub Dospiva

Journalist, Czech Press Office (press agency)

David Sebek

Journalist, Super Daily Paper


Madis Mikko

Head, Media and Information Department, MOD

Reelika Semjonov

Deputy Chief, Public Affairs Department, MOD

Toivo Lipstok

Media and Information Dept, MOD

Ensign Uku Arold

Acting Chief, Public Relations Section, General Staff, Estonian Defence Forces


Dr György Joós

Director General, Dept. of Press and Communication, MOD

Col Ernö Széles

Defence Attaché to Norway

Attila Kovács

"Zrínyi" Communication Servicing Public Int. Co. MOD

László Vastagh

"Zrínyi" and journalist, "Magyar Honvéd" (Hungarian Soldier) weekly news magazine, MOD

István Árkus

Desk Officer, Department of International Cooperation, MOD

LtCol András Szabó

Press Officer, Land Forces Staff Hungarian Defence Forces

LtCol Anna Gál

Dept. of Education & Science, MOD

Gábor Zord

Journalist, Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) daily newspaper


Kristine Atmante

Head, Public Relations and Press Division, MOD

Lt Uldis Davidovs

Spokesperson and Head, P&I Office of the Armed Forces (NAF)

Baiba Sejane

Head, Defence Minister’s Bureau, MOD

Kaiva Liepina

Press Secretary, Defence Minister, MOD

Dilarde Teilane

Head, Bilateral Relations Division, MOD

Gita Leitlande

Head, NATO Integration Division, MOD

Airis Rikvelis

Senior Desk Officer, Bilateral Relations Division, MOD


Ruta Putnikiene

Chief Specialist, Public Information Division, MOD

Algirdas Nakvosas

Sergeant, Chief Specialist, J-5 General HQ

Auste Dobrovolskyte

International Relations Dept, MOD

Mantvydas Bekesius

Journalist, military magazine "Karys" (The Warrior)


Col Krzysztof Szymon Paszkowski

Defence Attaché to Norway

LtCol Artur Kolosowski

Main Specialist, Office of the Deputy Secretary of State for Defence Policy, MOD

Dagmara Jaroslawska

Specialist, Press and Information Office MOD

Andrzej Walentek

Journalist, Zycie Warszawy (Life of Warzaw) daily newspaper

Anna Dabrowska

Journalist, Polska Zbrojna (Armed Poland) weekly magazine


Col Adrian Parlog

Defence Attaché to Norway

LtCol George David

Chief, Media Section, Public Relations Directorate, MOD

Maj Marian Bratu

Public Relations Officer, Public Relations Directorate, MOD

Maj Rodica Abrudan

Public Relations Directorate, MOD

Maj Ovidiu Dumitrascu

PIO with the Euro-Atlantic Integration and Defence Policy Dept.

Capt Florin Sperlea

Military Journalist at the Military Media Group

Monica Franziska Szlavik

Journalist, Curierul National newspaper

Gabriel Butnaru

Journalist, Europa FM Radio


Peter Sobcák

Editor-in-Chief, Slovak Army Review, MOD


(speakers, participants, organisers)

Arnt Rindal

Ambassador of Norway to Romania

Bård Ivar Svendsen

Chargé d’Affaires, The Norwegian Embassy to Latvia

Morten Jentoft

Reporter, Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)

Gro Holm

Reporter, Norwegian National Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)

Einar Aaraas

Editor of Political Affairs, Drammens Tidende (regional daily newspaper)

Kjell Dragnes

Journalist, Aftenposten (national daily newspaper)

Tor Eigil Stordahl

Managing Editor, Norwegian Defence Magazine

Erling Eikli

Editor, Norwegian Defence Magazine

Ingrid Schulerud

Principal Officer, Europe/North America Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Cecilie Willoch

Senior Advisor, Section for Information and Press Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Katrine Adair

Co-Director, The Media Lion as

Kristin Hetle

Co-Director, The Media Lion as

Dag Leraand

Advisor, Gazette as

Brig Kjell Grandhagen

Chief, Press and Information Branch, HQ Defence Command Norw ay

Com Stig Morten Karlsen

Chief of the Information Office, HQ Defence Command Norway

Capt Jørn Ove Skaaden

Asst. Defence Attaché to the Baltic countries

Dr Anne Kari Rom

MD, Stress Management Team for International Operations, HQ Defence Command Norway

Dr Peer Jacob Svenkerud

Project Director, Telenor AS

Chris Prebensen

Secretary General, The Norwegian Atlantic Committee

Anne H. Rygg

Information Officer, The Norwegian Atlantic Committee

Lillian Krokan

The Norwegian Women’s Voluntary Defence Association

Elisabeth Bødtker Larsen

Director General, Department of General Services, MOD

Kirsti Skjerven

Ass. Director General and Spokesperson, MOD

Kåre Helland-Olsen

Ass. Director General and Head of the Information Section, MOD

Gunnar Listerud

Ass Director General, Section for Long-term Planning, MOD

Kjersti Mostue

Senior Advisor, Information Section, MOD

Runar Todok

Senior Advisor, Section for Info. and Press Rel., Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ørjan Karlsson

Advisor, Information Section, MOD

Tor Borgersen

Advisor, Information Section, MOD

Karin Torsrud

Advisor, Information Section, MOD

Berit Roksvåg

Senior Executive Officer, Information Section, MOD

Amy Wang

Senior Executive Officer, Information Section, MOD

Gry Tinde

Advisor, Information Section, MOD (Project Coordinator and Rapporteur)