Solberg voiced her concerns on online debates

Prime Minister Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) is concerned about the trend of hate and bullying of young immigrants who participate in the online social debate. “They must not be frightened off,” she says.


Solberg acknowledges that the tone of immigration issues hardened during the election campaign. During the opening speech of the Integration Conference on Wednesday, she hoped to settle the issue of hate speech in online debates.

– This is something that worries me. Especially the reaction that has been lashed out against young new voices, said Solberg.

Although the younger people have a fresh style of writing, and its may not be so polished in debate, they have a right to express themselves, and of course, like everyone else in the country, she pointed out.

– Right to stand out
She fears that the hardened debate climate makes young people with immigrant backgrounds upset and bothered.

“If such voices wither away then democracy will weaken. If they do not perceive that freedom of expression and democracy is also their platform, we will experience more extremism. Then the hate speech will make integration worse,” she said.

Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug (Frp) also spoke in favor of a more constructive wording.

She highlights how Sumaya Jirde Ali, who has engaged in the hijab debate, has received threats after and how 17-year-old Anujan Kathir from AUF was featured in commentary after being interviewed by NRK on election night.

“I understand why his mother was crying when she read those comments that came in the wake of the interview. Much of it was pure racism. I would also react in the same manner if such things were said about my child.”

Agree in that the debate is over
Listhaug agrees with Solberg that the debate climate became harder before the election. She was even challenged to oppose the hatred of young social defenders, but chose to wait.

Why did you not do it earlier?

“In the election campaign, so much was going on that it was not possible to keep track over everything that was happening,” said Listhaug to NTB.

– You did not catch it?

– No, I did not have all the information at that time to do anything. Now I have gathered all the threads,” says Listhaug.

She encourages people to interact on social media and on the web in the same way that they meet people.

“It’s unacceptable that people risk being attacked and threatened on the grounds that they have darker skin,” said Listhaug.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today