Statement on Wikileaks – Norwegian Library Organizations

Oslo 17th of December 2010

Open Societies

It is a fundamental principle in a democratic society that the people should have access to information about the decisions and the decision-making processes that affect them. Open societies are a safeguard against corruption and abuse of power. WikiLeaks has contributed to increased transparency by bringing objectionable affairs to public attention. The attempts to shut down WikiLeaks bear the mark of hasty reactions which as of today have not been sanctioned by any court of law.  This may threaten freedom of information.

Freedom of Speech

Libraries consider freedom of information fundamental to promoting freedom of speech and democracy. WikiLeaks’ activities and contents have opened up for renewed debate about the role of libraries in this context. The fundamental point in our view is that libraries, among other activities, should offer information – also over the Internet – which is critical of power.

The library associations in Norway have through their common ethical guidelines established that as long as the contents remain within the boundaries of the law, these contents should not be subject to any special treatment but be accessible like other library materials.

Svein Arne Tinnesand
Norwegian Library Association

Kristin Røijen
Norwegian Association of Special Libraries

Monica Deildok
Librarians’ Union of Norway

Trygve Eliassen
Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees 
Council for Library Employees

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