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Google News links to Swedish extremists

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16:26 CET+01:00
On Wednesday the Swedish language version of Google News began linking to a news article published by Nationell Idag, the newspaper of the far right National Democrat party.

The article concerned revelations that the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm had issued thousands of passports to asylum seekers based on false documentation, a story also covered by all major news media in Sweden.

A spokeswoman for Google explained to newspaper Dagens Media that her company does not manually sift through the news before pushing a particular site to the top of the pile. Instead all of its news is automated.

"We have criteria for what can and can't be included and we do not take a stance on different political views. The system does not take up pornography or hateful opinions," said Jessica Powell.

While the article in question may not express "hateful opinions", the political organisation behind Nationell Idag certainly does. And Google News has previously indicated that it will not provide an outlet for sites that promote "hate speech".

"We do not allow articles and sources expressly promoting hate speech viewpoints in Google News," the company wrote to New Media Journal editor Frank Salvato.

The National Democrats are a splinter group of the far right Sweden Democrats. Founded in 2001, the party has successively moved further to the right of its former comrades.

Party president Nils-Eric Hennix, for example, cites immigration as the cause of most of Sweden's woes. In a statement he writes:

"Nordic virtues as honesty, helpfulness, willingness to work, a good attitude toward women and respectful treatment of animals, are constantly being replaced by criminality and oppression of women, hostility against Swedes, abuse of social welfare, gang rapes and cruelty to animals. All as a consequence of the imposed multi-cultural society."

The National Democrats have as little respect for homosexuals as for immigrants.

In 2004 nine members of the party were brought to court following an assault on functionaries at the previous summer's Gay Pride Festival in Stockholm. Then chairman Marc Abramsson and EU parliamentary candidate John Andersson were each sentenced to eighteen months in prison for the attack.

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