Independent Media Centre Ireland

Danish ombudsman criticises ministers' refusal to grant interviews re Iraq war

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Wednesday June 06, 2007 18:27author by Coilín ÓhAiseadhaauthor address Co. Cill Dara, É phone 086 060 3818

Prime minister Fogh again refuses to grant interview to award-winning reporter

In a statement published on his website on Friday 1 June, the Danish parliamentary ombudsman has criticised both prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and foreign minister Per Stig Møller for refusing to grant an interview to award-winning journalist Bo Elkjær regarding their reasons for invading Iraq.

Despite the ombudsman's criticism, the prime minister has again refused to grant Elkjær an interview.

Bo Elkjær shared Denmark's most prestigious journalism award, the Cavling Prize, for his coverage in 2003 of the Danish government's decision to participate in the invasion of Iraq. In his acceptance speech at the awards ceremony in Copenhagen in January 2004, Elkjær denounced Fogh and Møller's decision to go to war and subsequently engaged in a heated face-to-face discussion with the prime minister, where he emphasised evidence that the prime minister had lied about the grounds on which he had decided to invade Iraq.

Elkjær has written to his prime minister and foreign minister by e-mail almost every day since August 2005 to ask pointed questions about Denmark's participation in the invasion and to request an interview, but the two ministers have refused to grant such interview.

(See Bo Elkjær's blog (in Danish) here: )

And, in fact, despite the ombudsman's criticism, Fogh has now again refused to grant Elkjær an interview.

In a statement published on the website of the prime minister's office on Friday, an official at the ministry states that the ministry does not consider itself obliged to grant an interview, that the prime "has nothing further to add in relation to the replies he has given in parliament and to the public about the topic". In response to the ombudsman's request for a specific explanation for why the ministry refuses to grant Elkjær an interview, the official repeats the view that "it is up to the prime minister to decide whether the prime minister wishes to grant an interview or not".

See the ombudsman's criticism (in Danish) here:

See the prime minister's office's most recent refusal (in Danish) here:

Please see also previous coverage of this story, here on Indymedia:
Danish PM uses "powers of discretion" to blacklist prize-winning journalist

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