«No Comprendo» regarding allegations of secrecy
The Norwegian Minister of Defence, Frank Bakke-Jensen (Conservatives), must state the formal basis for withholding information about the wrecked Frigate, KNM «Helge Ingstad». Labour, the Centre Party and the Socialists demand this.
– In our opinion, there is doubt about the formal basis for the Government’s line of being very reluctant to share with the public what the Armed Forces know so far about the causes of the collision, Writes the Defence spokespersons Liv Signe Navarsete (Centre Party), Audun Lysbakken (Socialists) and Anniken Huitfeldt (Labour) in a letter to Bakke-Jensen on Wednesday.
The three ask the Minister of Defence to explain the formal basis for holding back information about what happened when the Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» collided with the tanker «Sola» in Øygarden during the night before Thursday, November 8th.
«No comprendo nada»
– I do not understand this. I’m nothing keeping anything secret, says Bakke-Jensen to NTB. He underlines that the information about the incident that the Royal Norwegian Navy possesses, including sound logs and navigational data, has been handed over to the police and the Norwegian Accident Commission.
– This is in accordance with the rules for the investigation of such incidents. I have never possessed this information, the Minister of Defence stresses.
– I gladly respond to letters from the opposition regarding this. But it’s not right to make this into a case of secrecy. We have not kept anything secret, says Bakke-Jensen. He furthermore states that he gladly appear in the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) to inform about the case.
– I also believe that it is an important premise of transparency to respect that institutions and individuals have different roles. That is an understanding I miss from the three letter writers, he continues.
Navarsete, Lysbakken and Huitfeldt on their part reply that they are more than mildly surprised by Bakke-Jensen’s verdict of the media in a conversation with NRK, which was aired on Tuesday and his subsequent statements in the NRK program «Debatten» (the Debate).
According to the Minister of Defence, the media should await the Accident Commission’s report. He believes that the media coverage of the accident: «conceals, colours, make-up and distorts» the case.
– After his appearance on NRK – where a collective journalist corps were chastised for mentioning the incident at all – we wish to know what his formal basis for avoiding public disclosure is, says Huitfeldt to NTB.
– I am worried. It is virtually the case that he needs his own Accident Commission after his appearance on NRK, says Lysbakken. He adds that if Bakke-Jensen can hold back information backed by law, that must be respected.
– We need to clarify this, according to the Leader of the Socialists.
Bakke-Jensen said during the question hour in the Parliament on Wednesday that he would not contribute to speculation.
– Out of respect to everybody involved, I will not allow myself to speculate on the course of events on a limited factual basis. My discussion in the media has also revolved around this. That I refuse to speculate about something I do not know enough about is not secrecy, but an expression of respect for the role of the Accident Investigation Commission and the police, he tells NTB.
– That is the exact opposite. What is happening now is that everyone is speculating about what really happened, both in the media and around the dinner tables. That is a great strain on those who are involved. Many stories are conveyed that is not even close to the truth – but that they and their families must relate to – without being able to go public and correct them, Navarsete believes.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today