Predictably, the interest of the conventional Norwegian media people was low. A couple of websites quickly brought articles about this publicising about Norwegian Barnevernet internationally. Their journalists took no interest in the content of Ørsal Johansen's article but were eager to "find out" that he had been silly and ignorant and had done something wrong in letting his article be published abroad. The journalists tried to link this to what they consider to be some kind of madness, and illustrate it by pointing to the Czech president characterising Norwegian cps as equivalent to the Nazi Lebensborn programme (cf ), or to an idea of cps critics and victims being some sort of "organisation" with "conspiracy" ideas:
Some innuendoes here from a Norwegian publication / journalist about Suranya Aiyar being some kind of shady ignorant, on the edge of being a criminal harasser, the Sunday Guardian being some kind of suspicious publication, and Ørsal Johansen not quite knowing what he is/was doing:
(Progress Party politician with frontal attack on Norwegian CPS in Indian newspaper: – It has become a state within the state)
Filter Nyheter, 2 October 2017
Interestingly enough, we are told that:
"Filter Nyheter vet at statsråd Solveig Horne (Frp) i Barne- og likestillingsdepartementet er kjent med partikollegaens avisinnlegg i India, men hun ønsker likevel ikke å kommentere det. Også Barne-, ungdoms- og familiedirektoratet, som har ansvaret for det norske barnevernet, er kjent med innlegget. Mandag var det kontakt mellom direktoratet og departementet om saken, men heller ikke direktoratet vil uttale seg."
(Filter News knows that Minister Solveig Horne (Progress Party) in the Ministry of Children and Equality knows of her party colleague’s newspaper article in India, but still she does not want to comment on it. The Directorate of Children, Youth and Family, which has the responsibility for the Norwegian cps, also know of the article. On Monday there was contact between the Directorate and the Ministry about the matter, but the Directorate will not say anything either.)
The paper asks Suranya Aiyar whether she has been to Norway – and since she has not, then that no doubt stamps her as an excitable ignoramus?
The article has Solveig Horne again promising, as she so often does, that all will be well, (never mind what things are like in the meantime), with the upcoming new child protection law, and with going through "a selection" of cases. No mention of the fact of the Board of Health Supervision being the regular supervisor of Barnevernet, a few of whose cases they are now going to "inspect and analyse" and that this go-through has already taken a long long time to prepare and will go on for a long long time before it is finished (if ever).
As tragic as the child protection industry is, one still sometimes collapses in laughter: Another journalist, Lars Akerhaug, has discovered Morten Ørsal Johansen's article in the Sunday Guardian. Mr Akerhaug interviews a character called John Færseth, also a journalist, who has a few years back apparently written a philosophical book and several articles in which he "analyses" certain "groups" in Norway, finds that child protection protesters are central, and believes that they have ideas that the whole world is a conspiracy against them, implemented through Barnevernet. So he calls them "conspiracy theoreticians". (I believe I have seen myself called that as well! MHS)
Mr Akerhaug is a journalist with Minerva, which emanates from the conservative students at Oslo University, so he is interested in politics and world views too, apparently, and clearly admires Mr Færseth greatly.
When Mr Akerhaug discovers Ørsal Johansen's article, he interviews Mr Færseth first! Perhaps he brushes up on conspiracy theory. Then he interviews Ørsal Johansen.
(Progress Party representative – The CPS is a state within the state)
Minervanett, 3 October 2017
"I en i den indiske avisen Sunday Guardian kommer stortingsrepresentant Morten Ørsal Johansen (Frp) fra Oppland med kraftig kritikk av det norske barnevernet. Teksten ble opprinnelig publisert på norsk i Gudbrandsdalen Dagningen (GD)."
(In an opinion article in the Indian newspaper Sunday Guardian, parliamentary representative Morten Ørsal Johansen (Progress Party) from Oppland voices hard criticism of the Norwegian child protection agency Barnevernet. The text was originally published in Norwegian in Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen (GD).)
"John Færseth gav i 2013 ut boken «KonspiraNorge» og har skrevet artikler om hvordan miljøer som er kritiske til barnevernet, ofte sprer konspirasjonsteorier. Færseth mener uttalelsene til Ørsal Johansen er problematiske.
– Det ser for meg ut som om han knytter seg opp mot en retorikk om barnevernet som motivert av et ønske om å oppløse familien som enhet, eventuelt tjene penger på å overta flest mulig barn. Dette er en retorikk som er vanlig i konspirasjonslandskapet, da særlig den delen som mener at Norge har diktatoriske trekk. Det er spesielt interessant at han kaller det «en stat i staten», altså at de er ute av kontroll."
(In 2013, John Færseth published the book "KonspiraNorge" (ConspiraNorway) and he has written articles about how milieus critical to Barnevernet often disseminate conspiratorial theories. Færseth thinks that Ørsal Johansen's statements are problematic.
– To me it seems that he ties himself to a rhetoric about Barnevernet as motivated by a wish to dissolve the family as a unit, possibly making money out of taking over as many children as possible. This is a usual rhetoric in the conspiracy landscape, especially the part that holds Norway to have dictatorial tendencies. It is especially interesting that he calls it "a state within the state", meaning that they are out of control.)
Færseth also thinks that it would have been "natural" for Ørsal Johansen to take up any concern in one of the weekly question sessions in Parliament or to speak directly with the Minister. (Both safe, formalistic ways of having nothing happen except a bit of talk, of course, something John Færseth no doubt knows.)
Then Akerhaug tries "conspiracies", he too – he tries it on Ørsal Johansen, but doesn't have much luck:
"Morten Ørsal Johansen reagerer sterkt på kritikken fra Færseth.
– Det er han som sprer konspirasjonsteorier, så fagligheten her gir jeg ikke fem flate øre for. Hvis man er uenig i noe får man argumentere, ikke gå ut og si at noe er en konspirasjonsteori, sier han til Minerva."
(Morten Ørsal Johansen reacts strongly to Færseth's criticism, saying:
– He is the one spreading conspiracy theories, so I don't give tuppence for this expertise. If one disagrees with something one must give arguments, not go around saying something is a conspiracy theory, he says to Minerva.)
"Stortingsrepresentanten fra Oppland sier han har tatt opp sin bekymring for barnevernets arbeid med statsråd Solveig Horne.
– Det er en grunn til at departementet nå har satt i gang et arbeid hvor de skal gå gjennom et antall barnevernsaker. Jeg vet ikke hvor mange henvendelser jeg har fått som går på konkrete enkeltsaker. Det er klart at noe av dette ikke er reelt, men det er også masse saker som faktisk er problematiske."
(The MP from Oppland says he has taken up his worry with Minister Solveig Horne.
– There is a reason why the Ministry has now started work in which they will go through a number of child protection cases. I have lost count of how many people have come to me with concrete individual cases. Certainly some of this is not real, but there are masses of cases which are in fact problematic.)
"– Ikke konspirasjonsteorier
Frp-veteranen sier at han i teksten viser til opplysninger hentet fra lydopptak og utsagn fra en rådmann i en norsk kommune.
– Dette er ikke konspirasjonsteorier.
– Har politikerne lyttet for lite til de som er svært kritiske til barnevernet?
– Vi er veldig lite lydhøre til alt som har med kritikk av offentlige etater. Vi gjemmer oss ofte bak at dette er kommunens ansvar. Barnevernet har en veldig spesiell rolle i samfunnet.
– I disse anti-barnevernmiljøene finnes det også de som sprer konspirasjonsteorier og hat?
– Det er er klart, det er en del av disse gruppene som sprer holdninger som jeg ikke har noe til overs for og som kommer med trusler mot barnevernsansatte."
(Not conspiray theories
The Progress Party veteran says that in the article he refers to information from a tape recording and statements made by the head administrator in a Norwegian municipality.
– These are not conspiracy theories.
– Haven't the politicians listened enough to those who are very critical of Barnevernet?
– We are very reluctant to listen to everything having to do with criticism of public establishments. We often hide behind this being the responsibility of the municipality. Barnevernet has a very special role in society.
– In these anti-cps groups there are also those who spread conspiracy theories and hatred?
– Certainly, some of these groups communicate attitudes for which I have no sympathy, and voice threats against cps employees.)
Mr Akerhaug's article also has a section on what Minister Solveig Horne says about the bright future.
A formulation such as "The Progress Party veteran says that in the article he refers to information from a tape recording and statements made by the head administrator... " on the part of journalist Lars Akerhaug might perhaps indicate that he has not taken the trouble of reading Ørsal Johansen's article? Been busy with important questions of conspiracy theory all day, perhaps? Neither he nor Mr Færseth interested in going into the realities of Barnevernet outside of ideas in their own heads?
Morten Ørsal Johansen's article being published in India has reached NRK (the Norwegian national broadcasting co). The emphasis given by the the NRK journalist, not to mention the statements from the officials he interviews, give an apt illustration of how Norwegian society bury their heads in the sand regarding Barnevern.
(Progress Party politician with sharp charges against Norwegian child protection in Indian newspaper)
Stortingsrepresentant Morten Ørsal Johansen skrev en kronikk i en lokalavis med sterk kritikk av barnevernet i Oppland. Han synes det er helt greit at den nå er trykket på engelsk i India.
(Member of Parliament Morten Ørsal Johansen wrote an article in a local paper voicing strong criticism of the CPS in Oppland county. He thinks it is quite all right that it has now been printet in English in India.)
NRK Norge, 4 October 2017
The article says much the same that the article in Filter Nyheter says.
The journalist interviews the head administrator of Gran municipality:
"– Enkeltsaker har alltid flere sider. På grunn av taushetsplikten har vi ikke mulighet til å kommentere eksempelet slik at det blir belyst fra flere sider, sier rådmann Lars Ole Saugnes i Gran kommune.
– Generelt er jeg bekymret for det norske barnevernets omdømme i utlandet. India er ikke det første landet som omtaler det norske barnevernet, sier Saugnes til NRK."
(– Individual cases always have several sides to them. Because of obligation to confidentiality, we do not have the possibility of commenting on the example so that light is thrown on it from different angles, says head administrator Lars Ole Saugnes in Gran municipality.
– In general, I am worried about the reputation of the Norwegian CPS abroad. India is not the first country to talk about Norwegian Barnevernet, says Saugnes to NRK.)
He may not be wrong claiming that other countries came with criticism before India, but India was certainly among the early ones, and the sustained reactions from official India were more vigorous than anything I can remember from earlier.
"– Jeg kan ikke kommentere enkeltsaker i tjenesten, eller sitater på hva som skal ha vært sagt av saksbehandlere, sier barnevernsleder Espen Lilleberg i Land barnevernstjeneste.
– Land barnevern er godt i gang med å lukke avvik og bedre kvaliteten i arbeidet. Debatten om kvalitet i norsk barnevern er viktig, men bør føres på en ryddig og konstruktiv måte, sier Lilleberg til NRK."
(– I cannot comment on individual cases in the service, or quotes of what is supposed to have been said by case workers, says CPS leader Espen Lilleberg in Land CPS.
– Land CPS is well under way closing the discrepancies and raising the quality of the work. The debate about quality in Norwegian CPS is important, but it should be handled in a proper and constructive way, says Lilleberg to NRK.)
"Påstandene om at barnevernstjenesten i Valdres ikke følger barnevernsloven er feil, og tatt ut av sammenheng, har virksomhetsleder Pål Andreassen i Nord-Aurdal kommune tidligere svart til Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen."
(The allegations about the CPS in Valdres not acting in accordance with the law is wrong, and has been taken out of context, is what establishment leader Pål Andreassen in Nord-Aurdal municipality has previously answered the newspaper Gudbrandsdølen Dagningen.)
NRK also interviews Kai-Morten Terning, who is the Minister's next-in-command.
"Statssekretæren sier norske myndigheter har vært opptatt av å rette opp feil om det norske barnevernet i flere land."
(The undersecretary of state says that Norwegian authorities have been busy/concerned to correct mistakes about Norwegian CPS in several countries.)
Goodness, he answers as he always does, making out that there is nothing wrong with Norwegian CPS, it is just the foreigners who have got it wrong and do not understand, however much Norwegian officials explain it to them!
Then Terning seems to try to suggest that Ørsal Johansen's article is just about some little local problems, no doubt of little interest to Indian readers:
"– Jeg mener at det hadde vært en fordel om det ble opplyst i kronikken som sto på trykk i India at dette dreide seg om lokale forhold og utfordringer i noen kommuner i Oppland. Det hadde absolutt vært en fordel."
( – I hold that it would have been an advantage if it had been stated in the article which was printed in India that this is about local conditions and challenges in some municipalities in Oppland. That would absolutely have been an advantage.)
"– Jeg har stor forståelse for at barnevernssaker skaper mye engasjement, men det er utrolig viktig for norske myndigheter å korrigere når det kommer feilaktige opplysninger om hvordan det norske barnevernet arbeider og når noen for eksempel påstår at foreldre i barnevernssaker i Norge ikke har rettsvern. Det er påstander som vi er nødt til å korrigere utenlands blant annet gjennom våre ambassader"
(– I have a great understunding that CPS cases create a lot of interest, but it is incredibly important for Norwegian authorities to correct things when erroneous information is presented about how Norwegian CPS works and when someone for instance claims that parents in CPS cases in Norway have no protection from the law. These are allegations which we have to correct abroad, among other things through our embassies.)
Hm – what must foreign nations think of this country and its people – our public employees and leaders denying everything in a helpless manner and speaking as if we were all in kindergarten?
A comment from "familien-er-samlet" (the family is together) to the NRK article:
"The journalist is giving the impression that this is a norwegian politician ruining the reputation of the norwegian CPS abroad. The department official stresses that this is just a local case from a municipality and not typical for norwegian CPS in general.
Both state and media are in complete denial in Norway. Children in Norway are taken away from their parents for "child-protection"-reasons and mostly not because of violence, abuse and neglect as one should think.
Child-protection reasons are lack of eye-contact, lack of emotional care, dysfunctional interaction, lack of stimulation, lack of parental skills and so on. But who can measure these values with some degree of certainty? No-one of course. But the CPS believe that they can assess these values; and worst of all; they act on their findings. Founded on their imaginary special skills they separate children and parents, causing tragedies all over the country.
That is a big problem, and the government does not want to face it."