First, here is the video of the J’lem Post published of former Israeli ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel being interviewed on IBA News. The transcript is viewable here.
NOTE: Thanks the blogger Daniel, at Israelnyheter who sent this in, and to Vlad Tepes for working on the video, much appreciated.
Daniel: Fred i Mellanöstern tells that a professor and a chief editor says that the governement has the right to speak if it want to, about the Aftonbladet blood libel.
Dagens Nyheter’s editor Thorbjorn Larsson dismisses talk of the government and ministers would not be able to criticize the content of published articles:
What do you think that Carl Bildt can not condemn the article as government representatives previously commented on various topics?
– Even ministers have to react to things that are written, we do have freedom of speech. An example is the Reiner affair when Olof Palme reacted strongly.
And that is exactly what has been called for the Israelis, although some people have misunderstood and thought it would be about the government expected to “manage” what is in the media.
Thomas Bull, professor of constitutional law at Uppsala University, confirms to, Peace in the Middle East, that it is permissible for government officials to criticize what is written in the press, but warns that it can be a sensitive area, depending on what it is about. Here is the answer (our bold):
It’s probably not a question of compatibility with the constitution, but more of a tradition. The legal interest is censorship prohibition of TF [Freedom of Press Act / FIM’s note.], But statements from the government if articles are not censored (not done in advance and does not prevent publication).
However, it is sensitive to rule because it can affect a newspaper publishing freedom in the future. You could say that countries where governments are more often to review their own country’s newspapers / media does not tend to be states with democratic patterns. Therefore, if governments in democratic states please refrain from this, for any suspicion that the free formation of opinion let themselves be influenced by what the government currently considers a bad thing for the political system at large. One can note that Berlusconi’s recent moves by the government being too critical TV channel in Italy is not regarded as OK – so it always breeds suspicion that not only do something, but maybe doing something … not good for confidence in either the press or the government . But no formal constitutional law, I can not see that it would be a rule.
The sensitivity Bull mentions thus seem primarily concerned to political disputes (such as criticism against disclosure of corruption in Italy) than anti-Semitism and racism, as it’s not said to be a magazine that has the open ambition to spread it.
In the light of advice from both the editor of one of Sweden’s largest newspapers (DN) and the right expertise, there is thus no right to say that freedom of the press would prohibit the government to criticize the contents of the current Aftonbladet article.