Talks break down.
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest Final in Oslo could face a media blackout, after Tuesday night’s breakdown in negotiations between the Norwegian Union of Journalists (Norsk Journalistlag/NJ) and the Media Business’ Association (Mediebedriftenes Landsforening/MBL).
NJ says up to 4,000 journalists in newspapers, weeklies, broadcast, and digital media will be called out on strike next month if no agreement is reached.
“Their offer wasn’t good enough. We had no other choice than to break talks. MBL’s negotiators have been unwilling to meet our pay claims. The level of our members’ wages has slowed sharply the last 10-12 years, and we demanded the trend be reversed. This wasn’t fulfilled,” says Elin Flobergerhagen, head of the NJ.
It’s believed the deadline for negotiations is midnight. on 20 May. The strike will begin on 21 May if no agreement is reached.
NRK believes the strike will mean the Eurovision Song Contest will receive a much sparser than usual Norwegian media coverage.
This wouldn’t be the first one to suffer. Several journalists stopped work and packed up their laptops during the 2004 contest in Istanbul.
Coverage was also considerably reduced during the last 11-day strike by Norwegian journalists in 2006.
Meanwhile, Leif-Åge Reme, head of the Norwegian Eurovision delegation, isn’t concerned about thin press coverage.
“It’s over a month until the big final, so I’m not lying awake worrying for now. It’ll be a shame if the Norwegian public won’t be able to follow such an event on a daily basis,” he says.
NRK isn’t a member of MBL, but is currently holding separate talks with 1,600 of its NJ members. But with tomorrow’s 12:00 p.m. deadline fast approaching, it still isn’t known if their coverage will be affected.
Head of personnel in NRK, Bjørn Skrattegård, won’t comment on the issue for now.