Censored at VG’s online forum

Erik Strand, April 20th, 2015

On Saturday 2nd, the Coastal Party in Vestfold county will arrange an open meeting in the city of Tønsberg. The topic of the meeting will be corruption and human rights violations in Norway.

On April 10th, I wrote a post about the meeting at the online forum VG Debatt. This forum belongs to the newspaper VG (acronym for Verdens Gang). VG is one of Norway’s largest newspapers, and by September 2013 it was Norway’s most read newspaper.

My post did however get the chance to be widely read at the forum. After less that an hour, it had been removed. When I sign into my account and clicked on the title of the post that I had written, I got the message that the thread was empty or had been removed. On the selfsame day I sent an e-mail to the moderators asking why my post had been deleted. I stated that I could hardly see that the content of my post broke any forum rules.

I received an e-mail from the team of moderator the next day. Their reply was simply that when an entire thread is deleted, it is difficult to know the reason why. It can be that other users have been quarreling [in replies], or some other reason.

When no one pointed at anything offensive in my post, I posted it once again (with minor changes) on April 14th. Once again, it took less than one hour before the thread was deleted. And this time, I could sign in to my account and see that there had been no replies to my post before it was deleted. It was therefore my text and nothing else that had been deleted. And this time I had saved a copy of the text in my post.

Attaching the text, I once again mailed the moderators and asked for an explanation. I mentioned that this time there had been no replies to my post. I still have got no reply. The mail correspondece can be read here (as it is in Norwegian, I link toit more as a documentation and less as background for the readers).

On April 16th, I posted the same text again to see if the moderators would delete my post a third time. And they did.

Here is a translation of my post on April 14th:

“Abuse of power in Norway – the Coastal Party arranges open meeting

On May 2nd the Coastal Party in Vestfold arranges an open meeting where the topic is corruption and abuse of power in Norway. The meeting starts at 1 pm and will take place in Eik samfunnssal, Jutulveien 9, Tønsberg. There will be a presentation by former MP Erling Folkvord (Red Party).

It is a serious topic to whichthe Coastal Party in Vestfold has devoted this meeting. This topic has been seriously under debated in party politics. Under, I will give some examples showing some of the seriousity of this topic:

– The Bygdeposten case. This was the case of an editor who was dismissed by her newspaper. The dismissal and the ensuing trial put an end to investigating journalism using documentation provided by the organisation Fampo and its leader Dag Hiåsen.

– In his book Vår korrupte hovedstad [Our corrupt capital], Erling Folkvord describes cases where considerable amounts of money have ended in the wrong pockets. One example is a case where the City Council in Oslo sold municipal apparments in a way that gave the buyer a tax free profit of 1.4 billion kroner.

– The Wiborg case. I will recomment the book Hvem drepte Jan Wiborg? [Who killed Jan Wiborg?].

– We have had many ugly judicial murders in Norway. Not all of them have been reopened. I choose mentioning the Torgersen case. My reason for mentioning this single case is the persons who have been involved. In a document (see http://torgersensaken.no/kommisjonens-sviktende-grunnlag-eskeland.pdf), law professor Ståle Eskeland documents that the Criminal Cases Review Commission committed grave mistakes when it turned down Fasting Torgersen’s demand for reopening of his case. Among the members of the Criminal Cases Review Commission responsible for the decision, we find former head of the PST [surveillance] Janne Kristiansen and former Police Director Øystein Mæland.

I hope many people find their way to Tønsberg on May 2nd.”