The Tundra Tabloids reported about Sweden’s lack of a free press during the Aftonbladet’s gross blood libel against Israel, in which the paper alleged in a series of articles that Israel’s IDF was engaged in the sale of used Arab body parts. The Aftonbladet hadn’t an ounce of proof to the validity of the obvious bogus claims, but that didn’t stop it from publishing the article.
What added insult to injury, was the Swedish government’s self righteous stance that it could not condemn the paper’s gross violation of the ethical journalism, due to constitutional constraints, that there is a clear line of division between the state and the press. And above all, that in Sweden, there is a long tradition of “freedom of the press”, which is highly valued by both the government and the people.
That said, while sounding all noble like, constitutional scholars weighed in and undermined the Swedish government’s official line on the matter, saying that the government could indeed make a remark on any given issue, and not violate the constitution whatsoever. Also, it’s been brought to light that the Swedish media is not so free as they would like to pretend it is, seeing that 80% of the media and the trade unions belongs to the Swedish Social Democrats (SDP), which creates a rather unhealthy symbosis between the two. Here is a partial transcript of the video in which the former ambassador to Stockholm, Zvi Mazel explains his observations concerning the Swedish media:
Ambassador Zvi Mazel(actual video here)IBA News: Israel’s former ambassador to Stockholm, Zvi Mazel, currently a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Ambassador Zvi Mazel, thank you for coming in. The government of Israel, Israeli officials have called this article a blood libel, but why do you think it is that the government of Sweden will not condemn it?Ambassador Zvi Mazel: We they should sir, they should. They don’t want to do it because it’s in their tradition that it’s inherent that Sweden is above all, that in Sweden the freedom of the press is total and the government cannot intervene.I don’t accept it absolutely, they should condemn it. The problem is, and I would like to say something about it, about the freedom of the press in Sweden. I would like to say very clearly, there is no freedom of press in Sweden.Maybe some people would be surprised by what I’m saying, but they should know that about 80% of the press in Sweden belongs to the Social Democrat Party and the trade unions. Two organizations that are connected and anti-Israeli. And in the last twenty, thirty years they have been issuing dozens if not hundreds of condemnations of Israel. They are two anti-Israeli organizations.This is the story. So when Carl Bildt of the Foreign Affairs says there is freedom of the press, on this principle we can do absolutely nothing, this is just not true and I beg to differ completely.
Freedom of the press in Sweden, (and to the same extent in Finland as well) is an illusion, it simply doesn’t exist. There is an echo chamber phenomenon existing between the main power structures of the mass media, government institutions and the academy, that are all left leaning and succeessfully maintain their existing status quo.
To run foul of either of these institutions (hold dissenting views of multiculturalism, immigration, Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Islam) places the individual at risk of being totally marginalized and cast into the nasty outer darkness. Their views will never get a reasonable airing, because it runs counter to the “narrative” so carefully set in place and guarded tooth and nail.
So what happens when the media seeks verification to whether or not they are being biased or not, they turn to the academics for reassurance, who dutifully repeat the party line, “all is well”, though it’s far from that. To see how the media (at least here in Finland) refrains from giving space to dissenting views concerning the multicultural enterprise, Israel-Palestinian conflict and Islam in general, is telling in itself.
The Tundra Tabloids knows of one political anlayst who was virtually driven from Finland back to Estonia, because her views did not fit “the narrative”. Like I said, to run foul with “the troika” of the existing power structure, places the individual dissenter in jeopardy of being an outcast, like in the case of Jussi Halla-aho. What’s needed is a healthy, diverse and competitive media not in the pocket of any one political group to help fend off hack journalism, or partisan politics in the guise of journalism. Tundra Tabloids’ colleague and friend, Ilya Meyer writes another timely article that deserves wider dissemination, concerning the lack of free speech in Sweden, and by extension, here in Finland as well. KGS
A month ago a controversial newspaper article in left-wing Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet alleged systematic Jewish and Israeli organ harvesting involving body parts from Palestinian Arabs.With the initial shock of those sinister –and unsubstantiated – claims now dying down, this is a good time to examine what that article signified and how it plays out in the wider Swedish media discourse.Much of the controversy hinged on “freedom of the press”, with the newspaper and its supporters claiming that in a democracy like Sweden the press is free from the fetters of outside control.And so indeed it is.Or is it? On Friday September 11, rockets were fired from the Lebanon into civilian Israeli territory in an unprovoked surprise attack by militants under the control of Hizbollah. Hizbollah maintains de facto control of southern Lebanon and, as a major parliamentary faction, is in negotiations to play a sizeable role in the next Lebanese government.Newspapers in countries with a free press all ran headlines along the lines of “Rocket fire from Lebanon” or “Rockets from Lebanon provoke Israeli artillery response”.Not so the Swedish press. To a man, virtually every newspaper in Sweden carried headlines such as “Rockets rain across Lebanon-Israel border”, “Exchange of fire between Lebanon and Israel”, “Cross-border rocket fire between Lebanon-Israel”.No mention of who initiated the unprovoked attack. The headlines and the articles were skewed to show that Israel was engaged in military action. One newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, wrote “At least eight rockets struck Lebanese territory” and only much later in the body of the article mentioned that the attack was initiated from the Lebanon.So was the Aftonbladet article last month an aberration, or was it symptomatic of how Israel is treated in Sweden?Most foreign news coverage in Sweden is provided by Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT), a Soviet-era Pravdaesque nest of left-wing and ultra-left-wing journalists obsessed with only one subject: Israel.TT has a virtual monopoly on foreign news dissemination since for budgetary reasons most media outlets here subscribe to its services. This therefore means that a radical left-wing entity, an unelected political power broker with a highly specific political agenda, is in competition with the Swedish government to determine how Swedes perceive one aspect of Stockholm’s foreign policy: Israel. TT’s news is distributed in the printed media, the electronic media and over the airwaves on both radio and TV.Since Swedes are avid news consumers, this puts TT in a critical position of power. And it exercises that power 365 days a year.The question therefore has to be asked: was the Aftonbladet article a one-off piece of poor judgement, woefully inadequate research, immature language, sinister innuendo, offensive racism and subjective pursuit of one particular newspaper’s policies?Or was it yet another example of the daily battering that Israel takes in the wider Swedish press? A crude, vicious, calculated, blatantly anti-Israel and barely concealed anti-Semitic attack on the world’s sole Jewish nation?The answer depends entirely on the ethical integrity of anyone who reads, watches and listens to the Swedish press. In other words, it depends on the honesty with which one views the question and objectivity with which one analyses the facts.What is beyond doubt, however, is that Swedes as a nation are not anti-Semitic. The government are not anti-Semitic. The politburo of the Church of Sweden is anti-Semitic in its obsession with Israel. The general membership of the Church of Sweden is not. Not for nothing are increasingly large numbers of Swedes leaving the Church of Sweden and opting not to pay Church dues.Large swathes of the Swedish press are totally consumed by hatred of Israel. They produce unsubstantiated stories, regurgitate hearsay without corroboration, deliberately rewrite facts, deliberately mistranslate articles from the foreign press, deliberately omit the truth, deliberately disseminate lies – all in the cause of an anti-Israel policy pursued by a shadowy non-governmental agency with very real power, the power to shape citizens’ minds.Targeting Israel has developed into a religion in Sweden. It is a religion practised by a majority of the Swedish media. The foremost victims of this religion are Sweden’s own Jewish minority: it is no longer safe for Jews to wear a skullcap or Star of David in the country in which they have been living as a recognized minority for 250 years.It is against this background that the Aftonbladet article should be seen. In Sweden freedom of the press is unassailable. Unfortunately it is abused to give the press total freedom to vilify Israel and, increasingly, Jews.Considerable foreign media focus was trained on what the Swedish government did or did not say in the aftermath of the Aftonbladet debacle.The spotlight needs instead to be trained on the agency that really runs the country: the Swedish media and its shock-troops in a propaganda machine with far-reaching tentacles and very real power – news agency TT.