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Norway lobby firm reports Aftenposten

Norway's leading lobby firm First House has announced that it is taking Aftenposten's political editor Harald Stanghelle to the country's Press Complaints Commission (PFU) over his publication of "unsubstantiated rumours".

Norway lobby firm reports Aftenposten
Aftenposten political editor Harald Stanghelle speaking at a seminar on extremism in 2012. Photo: Norwegian Labour Party
Norway's leading lobby firm First House has announced that it is taking Aftenposten's political editor Harald Stanghelle to the country's Press Complaints Commission (PFU) over his publication of "unsubstantiated rumours". 
 
In an article titled "On a smear mission for the Chinese?" , published on Tuesday night, Stanghelle cited "good but unsubstantiated rumours" that "'Chinese interests' have hired First House to campaign against Thorbjørn Jagland and the Nobel Committee." 
 
First House argues that by publishing the article Aftenposten violated two provisions of the Press Code of Ethics: critical use of sources (section 3.2) and the right to a simultaneous reply (paragraph 4.14). 
 
"Stanghelle had transmitted unconfirmed rumours that are false and malicious," said Per Høiby, First House's chief executive, who is the brother of Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit. 
 
"First House has not been engaged by China or "Chinese interests," he added. "The company has not had any work relating to maligning Thorbjørn Jagland or affecting the composition of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. We believe it is a violation of good journalism to make such serious allegations in the form of undocumented rumours." 
 
Harald Stanghelle on Friday said he was willing to fight his corner in the Press Complaints Commission. 
 
"I wish them welcome," he told The Local. "They are free to do so, just like every other Norwegian citizen and company. That’s OK with me and Aftenposten will answer." 
 
In a sign that Aftenposten isn't going to go down easily, it published an article on Friday detailing a meeting on the Nobel Peace Prize and China hosted on Tuesday by the Norwegian Shipowner's Association, which it reported was a longstanding First House customer. 

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‘No question’ of stripping Suu Kyi of Nobel Peace Prize: Norway committee

Norway's Nobel Institute said Wednesday it had no intention of withdrawing its Peace Prize from Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi after a damning UN report termed the treatment of the Rohingya people as "genocide."

'No question' of stripping Suu Kyi of Nobel Peace Prize:  Norway committee
Aung San Suu Kyi's husband Michael Aris and their sons Kim and Alexander Aris accept her Nobel Prize for her in 1991. Photo: Bjørn Sigurdsøn/NTB Scapix
“There is no question of the Nobel Committee withdrawing the peace prize,” director Olav Njolstad said. “The rules of the Nobel Peace Prize do not allow it,” he added.
   
A UN probe released Monday detailed evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity “perpetrated on a massive scale” against the Rohingya, including acts of rape, sexual violence and mass killings. 
   
At a UN Security Council session on Tuesday, a number of countries — including the United States, Britain, France and Sweden — called for Myanmar's military leaders to be held accountable. 
   
Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 when she was detained by the military for championing democracy and human rights.
   
She was only allowed to leave Myanmar to recieve the award 21 years later as the military apparently eased its iron grip on the country.
   
As the Rohingya crisis has deepened in the past year with the flight of hundreds of thousands to neighbouring Bangladesh, Suu Kyi has come under increasing international pressure to speak out about their plight.
   
So far however she has said very little and steadfastly avoided any critical comment of Myanmar's military.
   
The Nobel Peace Prize committee had warned last year about the worsening situation in Myanmar and had urged all parties to do “everything possible to end discrimination against and persecution of minorities.”
   
Njolstad repeated that statement, adding: “This call is not any less timely after the UN report.”
   
The Myanmar government on Wednesday bluntly rejected the UN's findings.
   
“We didn't allow the (UN Fact-Finding Mission) to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council,” government spokesman Zaw Htay said, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper. 
   
He pointed to the formation of Myanmar's own Independent Commission of Enquiry, which he said was set up to respond to “false allegations made by UN agencies and other international communities.”