13 April 2015

Lithuania and Norwegian child protection on the news in Norway

By Marianne Haslev Skånland

On the 7 o'clock news on national tv (nrk) in Norway last night, 12 April 2015, there was a 7 minutes long report about Norwegian child protection services (CPS) and Lithuania's views on it. Much of the program is referred here:

Norsk barnevern slaktes i Litauen (Norwegian child protection is slaughtered in Lithuania)
nrk Verden, 12 April 2015

As usual, the Norwegian, state-subservient media succeeded in presenting the issue in such a way that the Norwegian ambassador in Vilnius, and the Norwegian authorities, come out as the essence of good, dependable sense, while the Lithuanians are presented as uninformed and foolish. To the degree that Lithuanians were interviewed, they were:

• either superficially informed people in the streets (although one man said that his brother with family had just left Norway because of trouble with the CPS),

• or a short glimpse of a parliament member Aurelia Stancikienè, who was critical of Norway, while the program took care also to bring us the information that the Lithuanian government had full confidence in Norwegian CPS,

• or a longer sequence with an interpreter Neringa Ozolina, who was hot on the 'explanation' that in Norway there was so much in-breeding in the form of marriages between cousins and even brother and sister that we had an excessive number of children born with Downs or other 'deficiencies' and needed new genes, plus needed to boost our population. (Not Norway but Sweden some years ago legalised sex and marriage between half-siblings.)

The reporter did not neglect to say that Norway has no higher incidence of genetic defects than other countries. (One probable reason why Lithuanians may think so, is that Norway has, I am glad to say, developed
away from the primitive attitude of hiding handicapped children from view as if they are something to be ashamed of.) So the news program, conducted by journalist Tormod Strand, managed to present Lithuanians as fairly senseless.


The Norwegian ambassador to Lithuania, Dag M. Halvorsen, was given quite a bit of interview time to explain how much of the embassy's time had now been consumed by child protection questions. He sort of just had to shake his head at all that the Lithuanians believed about Norway,
and he had now hired a PR bureau to present Norway's case.

The fact that Norway has to use advertising professionals to try and stem criticism is of course encouraging. Norway is no doubt alarmed that not every word of milk and honey about Norway is accepted without question. Ambassador Halvorsen's upset actually reminded me quite a bit of an interview Norwegian tv did with a Norwegian diplomat in Russia about child protection, in which the exasperated representative of the Norwegian embassy in Moscow complained that they
had 'informed' the Russians about Norwegian CPS but it did not seem to sink in with the Russians!


There was not a word about the boy Gabrielius. Demonstrators outside the Norwegian embassy held up posters and I saw his name mentioned there, but Norwegian tv did not mention his case or that of any individual. Clever of Norwegian tv – the sure way of making people sympathise, perhaps understand, would be to show living individuals experiencing Norwegian child protection as a tragedy.

So Norwegian tv certainly did the dirty on the Lithuanians there. But Lithuania, like the Czech Republic and Russia, also opens itself and its case up to quite serious criticism:

Why on earth do serious Lithuanians, e.g parliamentary representatives, not inform themselves properly about the principles of Western child protection and the scientific theories, assumptions and speculations held by the psychology trends that underpin it? The reason why Norwegian CPS acts as it does lies
there, in clear daylight (e.g in the Raundalen committee's report) for everyone to see.

Why do they, like the Russians, guess wildly and ruminate about weird causes of CPS actions? It shows Norwegian authorities that Lithuania is badly informed and therefore not dangerous – Norway can run rings around them.


Lithuanian boy? – unclear news reports
26 January 2015 –

When children of minorities are deprived of their parents
12 April 2015
Czech family seriously damaged by Norwegian CPS
11 December 2014 –

Russia is alarmed at Norwegian child protection (CPS)
15 November 2014

CPS action against Russian families – what is the truth?
26 November 2014