In 1988 the local newspaper Bladet Tromsø published articles about a report written by a government seal hunting inspector. The report alleged that some hunters had broken seal hunting rules by killing four protected seals and skinning other seals alive.
The crew of a ship sued the owners of the newspaper and its editor for defamation. The Norwegian courts ruled that the newspaper had relied too heavily on the government report, and that there was no additional proof for all of the allegations.
The court therefore ruled that the newspaper had defamed the hunters. Despite noting that the newspaper’s finances were under pressure, the court ordered it to pay 187,000 Norwegian kroner in damages and 136,342 kroner in costs.