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Editor resigns over 'racist' press subsidy

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Editor resigns over 'racist' press subsidy
09:59 CEST+02:00
Martin Ahlquist, editor-in-chief of Swedish news weekly Fokus, has resigned his post on the Press Subsidies Council (Presstödsnämnden) after a decision to award state funds to an extreme-right newspaper.

The decision to award 2.3 million kronor ($319,000) in state press subsidies to the openly xenophobic National Democrats' newspaper Nationell Idag ('National Today'), has prompted Ahlquist to call for a change in guidelines governing support.

"The decision is in line with established rules stating that the council can not take a newspaper's content into account. If tax money is given to the spread of racism then it is a clear signal to me that the rules are wrong," Ahlquist wrote in a statement on the Fokus website.

Ahlquist, who had a role as substitute on the council, which allocates 483 million kronor per annum to around 80 newspapers, argues in his statement that "racism is not diversity" and points out that neither Sveriges Television (SVT) nor Sveriges Radio (SR) are permitted to broadcast programmes which "spread hatred or insult".

"I can not stand behind a regulatory framework which functions in this way and so I have thus resigned from the council," he writes.

Nationell Idag was granted 699,583 kronor for August to December last year, as well as 1.679 million kronor for 2010.

The decision did not enjoy unanimous support, with one of the nine council representatives present calling for a further examination of whether Nationell Idag can be considered a "general newspaper that has the publication of regular general news as its primary function."

The National Democrat party, which enjoys very little support among the electorate, blames the majority of Sweden's modern day problems on immigration, as it explains on its website:

"Nordic virtues such 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."

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