The Norwegian TV series “Folkeopplysningen” (“Public Education”), which we have written about before, has caused some controversy among the alternative medicine practioners in Norway. Below are two stories about it:
The Norwegian Homeopath Association sent out a letter to their members warning them about participating in the NRK program Folkeopplysningen.
The production company Teddy TV called 10-20 homoepaths but no one wanted to participate to demonstrate the treatment.
It turns out a written warning had been sent out prior to the TV tapings.
In the letter, sent out by the Norwegian Homoepathic Association (NHL), they claimed that the idea for Folkeopplysningen comes from the Norwegian Skeptic Association:
“We have yet to see that the Skeptic Association represents anything close to a scientific attitude, it’s all about mocking. We have therefore chosen to withdraw from this project and encourage everyone else to do the same”
Continuing on it reads:
“Please give notice to your members about this, because a series like this that puts alternative medicince in a bad light can be hazardous for everyone in the alternative industry.”
And that’s not all. The Norwegian Spiritualist Association has filed a complaint* to the PFU, Pressens Faglige Utvalg, (the Norwegian equivalent of the FCC) for breach of ethical conduct.
“The Norwegian Spiritualist Association” claims that Folkeopplysningen has not incorporated the “overwhelming evidence that healing and mediums works” and that only Andreas Wahl and his chosen skeptics are allowed to make their points.
They point to two items in the “Be Careful”-poster (Editor’s note: The “Be Careful”-poster is a guideline that all Norwegian journalists have to abide to to ensure quality content and ethical and journalistic integrity) that have been violated. The first is point 4.4 which states that headlines, references, introductions, et al. can not state more than what is necessary. The other point they claim have been violated (point 3.2) states that one has to be critical in one’s choice of reference and make sure that the information is correct.
The Spiritualist Association also claims that NRK has been acting fraudulent and fooled participants with false promises about a fair and balanced program.
Source: NRK and Fritanke.no
Homoepaths refused to participate in the show even though the producers of the show were clear about their point of view, namely it was going to be a strictly scientific-based show, and then claim that the show has a very unscientific approach. They have evidence that homoepathy works? Why not show it?
As for the PFU complaint filed by the Norwegian Spiritualist Association, hard to imagine they’ll find much support for it. Their claim is thin and they have no evidence to prove that their supposed powers are in any way a real deal.
All in all, this just seems to be the alternative medicine practioners trying to cover up their lack evidence that their methods work and perhaps fear that the public would see them in a bad light. Not much different than psychics refusing to take the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge to show their stuff.
NRK is the biggest TV channel in Norway, the message will reach the vast majority of the Norwegian population. These folks instead decided to take their ball and go home instead.
UPDATE (1-Oct-2012): Former editor in chief at Teddy TV (whose last production with the comapny was this TV series) has written his story about the TV series and its production here.
*Articles in Norwegian. If you want fully translated versions, we recommend using Google Translator.