• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swedes in uproar over 'xenophobic' book ad

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 9 Dec 2013, 16:48

Published: 09 Dec 2013 16:48 GMT+01:00

“The advert’s design expresses a reluctance and a resistance to that which is perceived as different and the ad is therefore xenophobic,” political scientist Ulf Bjereld said on his blog on Sunday.

The book’s co-author Karl-Ove Arnstberg meanwhile dismissed criticism of the advert on Monday.

“It is just the chattering classes. They make a lot of noise and say what they want but they won’t sit down and read a 400 page book,” he told The Local.

The advert is for a book entitled “Immigration and blackout” (Invandring och mörkläggning) and is written and published by Arnstberg and Gunnar Sandelin. The advert in question was a full-page spread in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) broadsheet on Sunday and features a list of statistics.

The list included information from Statistics Sweden (SCB), the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) and a few other public bodies.

Both Sandelin and Arnstberg are established voices among those critical of multiculturalism and Swedish immigration policy and their book has been warmly received on extremist websites and by far-right bloggers in Sweden.

The second contention of their book - that the mainstream media operates a blackout around the issue of immigration and that “uncomfortable statistics” are subsequently buried is furthermore a common argument forwarded by followers of the Sweden Democrats and the extreme right in Sweden.

High-profile journalist Helle Klein called on DN to apologize for its decision to run the ad on Sunday and several other critics argued that the newspaper was guilty of spreading right-wing populist propaganda and pushing the boundaries of public discourse. Political scientist Andreas Johansson Heinö meanwhile argued that the ad was not out of the ordinary.

"In my opinion (the advert) is not xenophobic and I don't see a shift in the public discourse," he told The Local.

DN editor-in-chief Peter Wolodarski explained the newspaper’s reasoning in an article published online later on Sunday in which he defended the decision to publish in the interest of freedom of speech.

“We have gone through the allegations made in the ad, not to give the green light to what is claimed, but in order to make an overall assessment. The tone is insidious and there are a number of borderline dubious issues ... But I decided that it was within the bounds of what a commentator should be able to raise,” he said.

Wolodarski exemplified his reservations by referring to the fact that Sweden had approved 1.1 million residence permits to immigrants from 2000 to October 2013 observing that no distinction was made between permanent or temporary residence permits or the fact that many of the permits would have been renewals.

When challenged on the statistic, Karl-Ove Arnstberg declined to answer and terminated the phone call. 

According to an article in the media trade publication Medievärlden, publishers around Sweden expressed both support and disagreement with Dagens Nyheter’s decision to run the advert.

“We probably would have published… We don’t prevent someone expressing their opinions or arguing their case solely because the views are different from the paper's opinion. This applies to advertisements as well as opinion pieces, letters to the editor and columns,” said Cecilia Krönlein at the Göteborgs-Posten daily to Medievärlden.

“No, we wouldn’t have published it in Värmlands Folkblad. We would… have come to the conclusion that it lacks nuance and contains too many factual errors. It also runs contrary to the values which our owners support,” said the newspaper’s publisher Peter Franke.

The Local’s Managing Editor James Savage explained that the advert would probably have been run on the company’s websites, explaining that the advert was not “threatening”.

Story continues below…

“We wouldn't accept ads that were threatening or that expressed an extremist point of view. This ad is neither threatening nor extremist. We're not in the business of second-guessing every ad's purpose,” he said.

Karl-Ove Arnstberg stated that the book and the advert were financed by the authors themselves and were not part of some “hidden agenda”. He explained that he was surprised, but satisfied, with the reaction to the advert and claimed that the book’s sales had increased on Monday.

“Our purpose was to attract attention," he told The Local.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Meat-free days soaring in Swedish schools
Meat-free days are up by as much as 80 percent in Swedish schools. Photo: Lunds Universitet/TT

The number of Swedish schools ditching meat has grown significantly according to a study of municipal environmental credentials by a sustainability magazine.

Why these recalled Ikea drawers ‘can result in death’
Ikea demonstrates the potential danger at a news conference in Washington. Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP/TT

Swedish furniture giant Ikea said on Tuesday that 35 million chests and dresser units recalled in North America can 'result in death or injuries to children' if not properly anchored.

The Local List
Five things to do in Stockholm when it empties for summer
Photo: Henrik Trygg/visitstockholm.com

The Swedish capital can feel a bit empty during the summer, but fear not, there are ways to enjoy it.

Brexit: Swedes in the UK
'My Swedish friends and I talk about moving to Scotland'
Moving further north is one post-Brexit option touted by a UK-based Swede The Local spoke to. Photo: Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/TT Hasse Holmberg/TT

The Local speaks to UK-based Swedes on the impact they think Brexit will have on their lives and their future plans in the country.

Sweden wins seat on UN Security Council
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and UN Ambassador Olof Skoog beam as Sweden wins its seat. Photo: Pontus Lundahl

A dream come true for Sweden's government.

Swedish billionaire missing at sea
Christer Ericsson has been missing since Monday. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

A high profile Swedish businessman is missing at sea after a boat accident near Marstrand off the Gothenburg coast.

Ikea to recall chests of drawers after child deaths
The drawers are only being recalled in the US and Canada. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB scanpix/TT

The Swedish furniture giant will recall a popular chest of drawers model in North America after six children were crushed to death.

Swedish stocks rebound from post-Brexit collapse
The interior of the Stockholm Stock Exchange. Photo: Fredrik Sanberg/TT

On Tuesday the Stockholm Stock Exchange started to bounce back from a Brexit-inspired worst day of trading since 1986.

Man shot dead in Stockholm suburb
A police technician examines the scene in Tensta. Photo: Johan Jeppsson/TT

Swedish police were kept busy on Monday night after a fatal shooting in Stockholm, an attempted murder in Malmö, and a spate of car fires in Gothenburg.

Euro 2016
The humble Swede who sent England home from Euro 2016
Iceland's Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck. Photo: Ciaran Farey/AP/TT

Is Swede Lars Lagerbäck, who guided Iceland to victory over England at Euro 2016, the world's best football coach?

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Gallery
Property of the week: Torhamn
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Blog updates

28 June

A message for British expats in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"The people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union. As Prime Minister…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
3,281
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se