17:26 GMT +320 September 2019
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    American pop star Michael Jackson performs during his Dangerous tour in Bankok, Aug. 25, 1993.

    Norwegian Broadcaster Accused of 'Moral Posturing' Over Michael Jackson Boycott

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    Amid a controversial documentary that purports to shed light on child abuse by the late King of Pop, Norway's national broadcaster has chosen to follow the BBC's footsteps and refrain from airing Michael Jackson's songs in the coming two weeks. NRK also hinted that the ban may become permanent based on the public's reaction.

    To avoid the controversy that erupted in the countries, where "Leaving Neverland", a disputed Michael Jackson documentary, has already been aired, NRK has introduced a Jackson ban for two weeks starting on 8 March. Jackson's songs will thus be purged from playlists on several radio channels run by NRK.

    "We have seen that the movie has stirred strong emotions. We, who broadcaster music, should act responsively and don't contribute to negative emotions", NRK's music director Knut Henrik Ytre-Arne told the daily newspaper Verdens Gang.

    At the same time, Ytre-Arne stressed Jackson's tremendous contribution to popular culture and stressed that the broadcaster is still considering its future moves.

    "It is difficult to say now whether NRK will stop playing his music altogether, but we must look at how the audience reacts to the content of the documentary in the future", he explained.

    READ MORE: 'Pure B***s**t': Fans Disgusted by Lurid Docu on Acquitted Michael Jackson

    NRK's "Jackson ban" has caused strong reactions and was even labelled a "PR coup" by Verdens Gang's music critic Morten Ståle Nilsen.

    Marius Wærhaug Madsen, the editor of Norway's Michael Jackson fan club's website, isn't happy with NRK's decision either.

    "They have obviously made a wrong choice", Madsen told Verdens Gang.

    Lawyer Hans Marius Graasvold argued that NRK had broken its neutrality as a broadcaster and instead proclaimed itself "both a judge and an executioner".

    "It's not NRK's role to pass judgement on artists' moral standing", Graasvold told the newspaper Dagbladet.

    Graasvold recalled that NRK repeatedly uses material by writer and Nobel prize winner Knut Hamsun, despite the fact that he supported Nazi and Norwegian collaborationists during WWII and barely avoided a treason trial after the war ended only due to his advanced age.

    Norwegian musician and actor Kristian Valen, who performed at the 2010 Michael Jackson memorial with his song "Forever Michael", voiced his surprise as well.

    "I am very surprised that NRK is doing this. This is a drastic conclusion. In Norway, one is innocent until the opposite is proven and Michael Jackson has not been convicted. NRK is doing a very politically correct thing instead of thinking about the family and the music", Valen mused.

    READ MORE: Secret Why Michael Jackson's Skin Changed Colour REVEALED

    Columnist Egon Holstad has accused NRK of "moral posturing".

    "Shall NRK stop showing films by Harvey Weinstein due to sex abuse accusations? Or "Derrick" because Horst Tappert used to be a Nazi?" Holstad asked in an opinion piece in Verdens Gang.

    In a poll by Musikkbloggen, 65 percent voted to keep Michael Jackson on the playlist.

    "Based on the fuss this has triggered, I can understand why someone react this way. But we can't both play and not play Michael Jackson" Knut Henrik Ytre-Arne responded, rejecting the idea that NRK took a stance in the Michael Jackson debate. Instead, he argued, the broadcaster did its best to respect people's feelings.

    In the US, the documentary was aired on 3 and 4 March. NRK will follow suit on Sunday 10 March.

    The BBC's Radio 2 also stopped airing Michael Jackson. The last Jackson song played on the channel was "Rock With You", on 23 February.

    READ MORE: Annie, Are You Ok? Michael Jackson 'Returns' to Danish Mall Amid Controversy

    The documentary has triggered strong reactions worldwide, with supporters of Michael Jackson flocking to the defence of their idol under the hashtag #MJInnocent.

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    Tags:
    controversy, child abuse, NRK, Michael Jackson, Scandinavia, Norway
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