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Slavelike conditions in Norwegian Bangladesh factory

Sist oppdatert:
The owner of the Norwegian china manufacturer Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrik has hired a lawyer to stop tonight’s airing of a documentary revealing that his workers at the Bangladesh factory are little more than slaves.

The Norwegian television channel NRK has in its documentary series “Brennpunkt” revealed that the workers at the Bangladesh factory are working under close to slavelike conditions. The owner Atle Brynestad wants the documentary stopped.

In the program, which NRK is sending tonight, it is revealed that the china patterns “Tid” and “Märtha” are not produced in Porsgrunn, but in Bangladesh. According to the documentary, the workers are paid NOK 1.50 per hour (USD 22 cent), an amount which is below the country’s statutory minimum wage.

Porsgrunds Porselænsfabriks owner Atle Brynestad is interviewed in the documentary, but in a letter to the show Friday, Brynestad demanded that the interview was cut. According to the Norwegian paper Dagbladet, he refers to the Norwegian ethical code for journalists, Vær varsom plakaten, and he claims that the reason for the interview was not clearly stated.

“He called me up last Friday and hurled abuses at me,” said Morten Møller, editor of Brennpunkt. “He has used lawyers to stop the interview, but we are not afraid of being sued in reference to the information we have.”

Lawyer Cato Sciøtz threatens with filing a formal complaint against the program with Pressens faglige utvalg (PFU), the organ dealing with complaints made against the media, after seeing just the preview for the show.

“If this is correct, they have done a really poor job at check of their sources,” said Schiøtz to the paper. “We have presented the facts and we are referring to the ethics code, and it’s well known that the road to PFU is short.”

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