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PRESS

Stieg Larsson’s partner reports ‘racist’ subsidy

Eva Gabrielsson, the life partner of deceased Millennium trilogy author Stieg Larsson, has called on Sweden's highest legal official to examine the legality of a press subsidy awarded to a newspaper run by the extreme-right National Democrat party.

Stieg Larsson's partner reports 'racist' subsidy

Gabrielsson has asked the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern – JK) to examine whether the subsidy is consistent with positions held by the party and the newspaper’s position which she argues are tantamount to agitation against an ethnic group (hets mot folkgrup).

“I want JK to investigate the Press Subsidies Council and its decision to give 2.3 million kronor in press subsidies to the National Democrat journal Nationell Idag (‘National Today’). This is not funding from some individual, the funding is from the state and as such is very special,” Gabrielsson wrote in her report.

The decision by the Press Subsidies Council (Presstödsnämnden) to award 2.3 million kronor ($321,000) to the openly racist publication has met with heated reactions in Sweden.

Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, herself formerly a delegate on the subsidies council, has said that a review is needed over guidelines prohibiting the council from taking a publication’s political views into consideration.

“Even if this is about freedom of expression, that’s not the same thing as using taxpayers’ money to support this type of media,” Adelsohn Liljeroth told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio last week.

The Local reported last week that Martin Ahlquist, editor-in-chief of Swedish news weekly Fokus, resigned his post on the council after the decision.

Gabrielsson, and her deceased common-law husband Stieg Larsson, are renowned for their work against xenophobic groups in Sweden and she has now mirrored the culture minister’s call for a review of the guidelines, asking JK to consider whether it was necessary to ensure that “the constitution can be upheld as it it intended”.

In her report, Eva Gabrielsson draws parallels with demands by the French Front National (FN) for the establishment of trade unions and tenant associations solely for French citizens of French origin, calls that were quashed by the French state with reference to the country’s constitution.

The Chancellor of Justice is a government-appointed official who acts as an independent judicial watchdog and is the only prosecutor in Sweden who can take legal action in cases concerning freedom of speech.

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ELECTION

Swedish press highlights Obama challenges

Following the significant coverage of the US elections in the Swedish media, the opinion pages of the four main newspapers have moved focus to the challenges which lie ahead for the re-elected American president and the impact these will have on the country as well as the rest of the world.

Swedish press highlights Obama challenges

Independently liberal broadsheet Dagens Nyheter (DN) wrote on Thursday that Obama should follow Clinton’s example from 1994 and steer Democrat policy toward the middle of the political spectrum.

“The responsibility rests heavy on Obama’s shoulders to shape the next term of office. He must compromise and open up for dialogue with the opposition in congress. That’s the only way to expose their rigidity,” the paper wrote.

DN also said that there are major challenges ahead for President Obama and that the nation will be facing fiscal ruin in case the Democrats and the Republicans fail to together solve the financial crisis in the country, something which surely also affects the rest of the world.

Another Swedish paper that highlighted the international need for a strong US was tabloid Expressen, also independently liberal, which wrote that reaching an agreement on the nation’s finances with the opposition will be the big test to Obama’s second term in office.

“Will he manage to reach a budget compromise with the Republicans that both increases taxes ad slashes costs? If not, the US risks being thrown off the fiscal cliff which will send the US as well as the rest of the world into another recession,” the paper wrote.

In the independently liberal-conservative broadsheet, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD), political scientist Marcus Oscarsson wrote that the tests that await president Obama during his second term will be significant.

“The challenges ahead of the re-elected president are gigantic. The ever increasing national debt and the huge budget deficit will be an immediate test,“ he wrote for SvD.

As if this wasn’t enough, the nation is at the same time trying to deal with unemployment figures at 7.9 percent.

Neither will the fact that the Republicans are still in majority in the House of Representatives make it any easier for Obama in his second term of office, argues Oscarsson.

In the independently social-democratic tabloid Aftonbladet, editorial writer Karin Petterson was pondering what Obama will do next; which battle he will choose to take on.

Provided he reaches a crucial agreement with the Republicans on state finances, he will realistically have time to focus only on one more area, she argues, identifying immigration law or climate-friendly energy policies as alternatives.

She added that one must hope the president isn’t too tired after the long and often dirty election campaign.

“Because now he must choose his next battle – and win it,” she wrote.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

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