• Sweden's news in English

Sweden dragged into cartoon row

The Local · 9 Feb 2006, 19:21

Published: 09 Feb 2006 19:21 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“We have freedom of the press in our country and everyone has to take responsibility in the context of freedom of the press, and I appreciate very much the responsibility shown by the Swedish media,” said Freivalds, following a meeting of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee at Stockholm’s Royal Palace.

“But there are those who still clearly want to offend and provoke in this way, and I think that they too ought to show some responsibility,” she added.

SD has invited sympathisers to send in their own caricatures of Mohammed, which will then be published on their site.

Asked whether Swedish diplomatic staff had received direct reactions to the caricature competition, Freivalds replied that she had received word of negative reactions.

“Up to now, I have only got information from Damascus, but I am afraid that [similar reactions] could come from other places.”

Freivalds did not give more specific information about who had given her information or whether the ‘reaction’ included any kind of threat to Swedish interests. She said only that “people” were upset in Damascus, where the Swedish embassy was burned out by rioters on Sunday.

“We have already noticed a reaction in certain countries, where there have already been reactions to the fact that SD have published these pictures on their website, and this could of course have extremely serious consequences for Swedes and Swedish interests,” she said.

SD writes on its homepage, on which caricatures have already been published, that more will be posted soon, but adds that it won’t show all of them, as some “are on the boundary of what is respectable.”

Laila Freivalds could not confirm US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s statement that Iran and Syria have “gone out of their way to inflame sentiments and to use this to their own purposes.”

“I can’t judge exactly what has happened, but certain information points in that direction, although we have no such information in Sweden,” Freivalds said.

Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the main opposition Moderate Party expressed support for Rice’s statement on Iran and Syria.

Liberal Party leader Lars Leijonborg repeated his argument that Sweden’s “clear position on freedom of speech” is laudable:

“We seek good relationships with Muslims, but a part of that is to protect freedom of speech.”

Leijonborg, Reinfeldt and Freivalds were all speaking after attending a meeting of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, which is chaired by King Carl XVI Gustaf.

During the meeting, Freivalds briefed committee members on the international row over the cartoons, and Sweden’s protest against Syria over the vandalized embassy. According to Freivalds, there was no discussion following her briefing.

In another development, a television station owned by Hezbollah broadcast a report on Thursday which claimed that Sweden had criticised the prophet Muhammad, Swedish Radio reported.

Story continues below…

According to Johan Gärde, an expert in the sociology of religion based in Lebanon, the report was shown in prime time on the al-Manar channel, a large channel with millions of viewers in the Middle East and Europe.

One of the main claims in the report was that Sweden and a Swedish newspaper were depicting Muhammad to provoke and to show that “democracy is more important than religion,” Gärde told the Studio Ett programme.

Gärde said that the report is deeply worrying, adding that it is important that the Swedish government reacts and explains that Sverigedemokraterna do not represent Sweden as a whole.

TT/The Local

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available