The recent turbulence here in Sweden concerns the TV commercial produced by the ”most hated Swedish party”, according to a Swedish journalists L Nilsson and E Schön in their book, namely the political party Sweden Democrats (hereinafter SD). For the first time, SD intends to broadcast TV and radio commercials. In order not to produce a commercial in vain, SD concluded an agreement with the Swedish terrestrial channel TV4. Shortly after TV4 had received the commercial, the channel’s director decided not to send it, since it was against the laws, at least according to his own opinion. In order to find out if this was true, SD decided to have the case tried. If nothing is against the law, SD probably intends to bring an action against TV4 for breach of the contract.
The aim of not accepting the film clip was of course to prevent the spreading of SD’s policy. Unfortunately the result was the opposite. Now almost 500.000 people have watched the clip on the Internet. This cost-free attention of the commercial had probably never been the case if TV4 had decided to broadcast it without obstruction.
Anyway, if it was the threat of being sued for damages, that made TV4 accept the clip – indeed after a few changes – is not known, but SD’s countermove proved to be ingenious. They intend to use the same film clip, but have inserted the text: “censored by TV4” when the “displeasing” part of the clip starts. Here there were no objections to the neologism “immigration brake” (see below).
The film has been broadcast both in Danish and Norwegian television. Particularly Danish politicians, but also a Norwegian one, have this last week stated that the freedom of speech is in danger in Sweden and that the Swedish election campaign is undemocratic. Not very surprisingly, the Swedish prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, and Mona Sahlin, the party leader of the Socialdemocrats make the following comment on the Danish statements:
This is very difficult to understand if you follow the Swedish election campaign (Reinfeldt)
It is not serious, we have a fully democratic election in Sweden, and I am proud of the fact that the country’s politicians and authorities can distinguish between freedom of speech and incitement to racial hatred […] we have never had a debate where you blame a whole group for all the problems, and I never want Sweden to end up there. We are more mature. (Sahlin)
Is anyone surprised at these denials, when the persons who are responsible for the censoring, in cahoots with the media, in no way suffer from it?
It should be observed that even SD’s radio commercial has been rejected. The reason is that the word “immigrant brake” is alleged to be too “pointed”! The word “pension brake” has become established in the Swedish media, after the fact that the pensions have been reduced for the second year in a row, since they are tied to the fluctuations of the stock markets. But to introduce the word “migration brake” on analogy of the former expression is frowned on in the country, which today is a modern and fully implemented version of the country depicted in the novel 1984 by George Orwell.