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Freedom of Expression Prize for 2013 awarded to Per Fugelli

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Press Release - 20 February 2013

The decision of the Board of Trustees of the Fritt Ord Foundation is based on the following grounds:

"Per Fugelli is awarded the Freedom of Expression Foundation Prize for 2013 for having given a voice to cancer patients and those who stand face to face with death."

The Freedom of Expression Prize is the institution's highest distinction. The amount of the prize is NOK 400 000. The prize is accompanied by the Fritt Ord Foundation statuette made by Nils Aas. The award ceremony will take place at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesday, 14 May 2013, at the Norwegian Opera & Ballet, Stage 2, in Oslo.

Based on his own experiences and illness after being diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Per Fugelli has helped open up a discussion about what it means to be seriously ill. With wisdom and generosity, he has drawn attention to our fears of talking about death and how we repress such thoughts. As Fugelli puts it: "Today's society needs to 'release death from the prison of banned words". Among other works, he has written the following book on this topic: Death, shall we dance? (2010), which has proved a welcome contribution to candour about death in life.

As a general practitioner, Per Fugelli has been an independent critic of his own profession for many years. He has opposed the bureaucratisation of Norwegian health care institutions. Fugelli takes a humanistic approach to health and social policy, focussing on the entire individual. He has shown that the best "social medicine" is to build up and share dignity with vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, the poor and those who are physically challenged. Through countless lectures and fearless participation in a large number of important debates, he has been a prominent contributor to Norway's public space fora for a long time.

Born in Stavanger in 1943, Per Fugelli is currently a professor of Social Medicine at the University of Oslo. Before moving to Oslo in 1992, he was a professor of General Practice at the University of Bergen. Fugelli has also worked as a medical officer in Lofoten and in Finnmark County in the far north of Norway. In addition to Death, shall we dance? (2010), he has published the book The Enough Point. Essays on health and dignity (2008), The 0 Vision. Essays on health and freedom (2003), Red prescription. Essays on perfection, performance and health (1999) and The patient Norway. Studies in political pathology (1994). Per Fugelli had a seat on the steering group of Norway's National Value Commission.

The Fritt Ord Foundation's Board is comprised of Georg Fr. Rieber-Mohn (Chair), Grethe Brochmann (Deputy Chair), Christian Bjelland, Liv Bliksrud, Guri Hjeltnes, Frank Rossavik and Sigrun Slapgard.

The Fritt Ord Foundation is a private non-profit foundation that aspires to promote freedom of expression and public debate.

For information about the previous prize laureates.


Photo: Charlotte Holst Fugelli



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Support for the launch of new documentary films

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The Fritt Ord Foundation's major grants in February include support for three documentary films being launched in spring 2014. The company f(x) film and Director Fridtjof Kjæreng received NOK 100 000 to launch "Beauty and the priest" about abortion opponent Børre Knudsen. The film had previously received NOK 500 000 in production support from the Fritt Ord Foundation. Faction Film, represented by Director and Producer Håvard Bustnes, received NOK 100 000 for the launch of "Rebellious great-grandmothers", which had previously been granted NOK 200 000 for production. NOK 100 000 were allocated for a full-length version of the documentary "Drone" by Flimmer Film and Director Tonje Hessen Schei. The Fritt Ord Foundation granted NOK 400 000 for the development and production of "Drone" in 2011-2012. Click on the links to read more about the films and to see the trailers.

A list has now been published of the major grants awarded by the Fritt Ord Foundation in February 2014 (in Norwegian).

Anne-Stine Johnsbråten's ‘Women in Japan’ to Pecha Kucha
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Photographer Anne-Stine Johnsbråten will be presenting her documentary photo project 'Women in Japan' at Pecha Kucha Night at 7.30 p.m. at DogA, Hausmanns gate 16, Oslo, on Thursday, 13 February 2014. Pecha Kucha Night is a multi-media event where players in the fields of architecture, design, film, art and music meet and informally show their work through a series of brief presentations. See the full programme for the evening.

The Fritt Ord Foundation has granted NOK 100 000 to Johnsbråten's work with 'Women in Japan'. This will be the first time the pictures are being shown in public.