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Sweden Democrats ask legal official to rule on ad

TT/AFP/The Local · 28 Aug 2010, 11:21

Published: 28 Aug 2010 11:21 GMT+02:00

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The party, which could win its first ever parliamentary seats in next month's general election, disputes TV4's interpretation of the advert and wants the Chancellor of Justice to rule on whether the film represents a form of hate speech.

The half-minute advert shows a race in which an elderly woman with a walker is chased by a group of burqa-clad women pushing prams with a slogan promising to safeguard pension funding at the expense of immigration.

The party wanted to pay the channel 1.5 million kronor ($201,240) to run the ad.

As an alarm-like sound plays in the background, a voiceover says, "All politics are about priorities - now you have a choice."

The clip promotes the Sweden Democrats' demand that, like other parties, pensioners' taxes be cut to the same levels of wage earners. However, they claim their plans would be funded by reducing immigration.

On its website, the party claimed that the film would be shown on TV4, TV4 Fakta and TV4 Sport from September 6th to 17th, but the network changed its mind after viewing the advert.

"We decided not to broadcast it," Gunnar Gidefeldt, communications director for TV4, told AFP.

Swedish law on freedom of expression prohibits messages that contain hate grounded on race and religion, said Gidefeldt.

"In this case, it is against religion," he said.

According to party press secretary Erik Almqvist, the ad does not violate Swedish law. The party has screened the clip for lawyers, who said that it does not break the law against inciting racial hatred.

"The conflict we see as a result of mass immigration is not related to the person's origin, but rather a conflict of values, as far as we can see," said Almqvist in reference to the burqa-clad women in the video.

TV4 CEO Jan Scherman disagreed.

"The film is contrary to the democracy clause in the Radio and Television Act and also against democracy clauses which the Sweden Democrats, among others, have adopted for the equality of all people, regardless of whether it is the European Convention or the UN Charter," he said.

"The film is also against the constitution act on freedom of speech that prohibits hate speech," Scherman added.

Per Hultmangård, a lawyer at the Swedish Media Publishers' Association (Tidningsutvgivarna), came to a different conclusion. He does not see how the video would violate the law.

"I cannot see how this would be hate speech," he told news agency TT. "This is an election ad. The scope is wide for what one can say. They simply play on people's fears. Legally, it is within the allowable framework."

However, Scherman stood by his position and referred to an EU directive that is the basis for the wording of the Broadcasting and Television Act.

"The directive prohibits incitement of hatred according to race, sex or religion, which supports my decision," he said.

Story continues below…

"It is quite clear to me as the editor responsible that those who watch the clip, together with the text, images and sound, very clearly see a group portrayed as intimidating and aggressive. The group is very easily identifiable, belonging to a religion, dressed in a certain way and attacking another group," he added.

According to Scherman, that group is the Muslims.

"There are probably lawyers and press experts who disagree on this," he said. "It is for TV4 and I to make an independent decision based on our knowledge, experience and perception of the law. It is not possible, even if one gets advice and opinions, to refer to them when making a editorial decision. It must be based on the conclusion that we and I have come to."

The Sweden Democrats could play kingmaker in the election on September 19th, which is up for grabs between the two coalitions. According to a survey from last Friday, just a month ahead of voting, the party was polling at 3.6 percent of the vote, just shy of the minimum of 4 percent that is required to enter Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag.

If they can reach this threshold for the first time, political analysts believe the party could be in a powerful position with the two main blocs on course to split the vote.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:52 August 28, 2010 by Burritos
Surely any sane court would rule against censorship and thus against TV4.
11:52 August 28, 2010 by byke
I cant imagine the rosettes and material used by SD for this election.

Will we soon see stars of david handed out as part of their advertising campaign?
14:42 August 28, 2010 by Open Minded
Sweden Democrats = Nazzi Hitller.

If you join this party you would loss your happy life which you have now with your immigrant friends. After joining this racist party you would hate human. And if your child is born from mother who has dark hair or eyes then your kid would risk his life in Sweden. As the Nazzi did and once these low class SD would gain the power they would start another war...
15:45 August 28, 2010 by Roy E
@Open Minded

That's pretty rich, as you are obviously anything but. Other handles you might want to consider deluding yourself with are 'Brightest_Bulb, 'Sharpest_Knife', etc, etc. ...
17:06 August 28, 2010 by tuerd1982
I am quite support the idea of "free speech", but I really, really hope people should use this word in correct way on the base off respect others and also the morality. Why people always do some thing bad or say some thing insult others then just drag this nice rule "free speech" ?

Please people, we are living in 21st century. We are living in civilized society. We should be live in harmony with other races, country and religion. Instead of arguing and fighting with different people try to do some thing useful for society and humanity. I believe the most resist people are the most useless, stupid and coward. They just know how to complain and lead non-sense argument. They can't make things done. They only know how to destroy.
17:22 August 28, 2010 by Taxalien
Socialism always leads to totalitarianism and fascism.

Anyone casting their vote with SD will have to remember that they are just a stepping stone to the next stage in Swedish politics which won't be something to grow proud of as years pass by.

18:33 August 28, 2010 by calebian22
Hopefully the Sv Democrats will overcome the 4% minimum to be in the Riksdag. A voice of reason regarding responsible immigration in Sweden will be a welcome change over the ivory tower politicians in Stockholm.
18:36 August 28, 2010 by Jan M
Very disturbing. Whenever I read a story in which a party hides behind the 'free speech' excuse in order to justify using social and racial tensions I experience an urge to ensure that those behind such campaigns are permanently silenced. I suppose it's a throwback to the satisfaction you get from walking up to someone who is intimidating a weaker person in a playground and breaking their nose. Anyway I wish they'd stop it because quite frankly letting off steam in a gym only goes so far. By the way this too is called free speech.
19:29 August 28, 2010 by Burritos
I think that many of the posters here need to consider the fact that the only reason the SD is even in existence is because one certain group of our immigrant "friends" is so vastly overrepresented in crime statistics. Try this: don't steal, don't rape, don't kill, don't riot, try to get a job and try to learn the language. Then you will see support for the SD drop sharply.
19:30 August 28, 2010 by Russ Cobleigh
I saw it on you-tube, and it is nothing but HATE, if shown it will provoke nothing but violence! These guys should be ashamed of themselves!
21:31 August 28, 2010 by Uncle
If the only achievement of SD will be throwing out Open minded, so he would be writing from back in Pakistan, I am there to vote for them.

I agree with Burritos. They are not coming out against Jews, Latinos, Serbo Croatians, Chinese, Indians or any other specific nation. They are against this massive muslim immigration that is running away from islam ruled countries in millions, but then would very much like to establish the same pile of ... in Europe.

SD is a REACTION, not action.
21:32 August 28, 2010 by glamelixir
I am an IMMIGRANT @burritos

I am Italian

I grew up in Argentina

I don't recieve or ever have recieved any kind of help from the Swedish government

I am married to a Swede that can't leave the country because of his activities.

I have never commited a crime either here or in any other country....

I am not a muslim

How exactly is this video representing ME as an immigrant. Why do they talk about immigrants? What is their position on a situation like mine?

Can someone clear this to me.
22:01 August 28, 2010 by Jan M
Great questions. Most likely they're doing what all parties do that have a leader just out of nappies and that's hunt for cheap votes - in this case that means attacking minorities but only carefully selected subsets. In this case it's muslims and if the SD were successful in removing them they'd just move onto the next minority/immigrant group. It's a basic formula. It has not much to do with unemployment or crime. Youth unemployment (age 18-24) is running at 25% of that age group at present. That doesn't have much to do with immigration, more the demise of job opportunities in general and a 'last in first out' policy on job losses. In relation to the crime stats, there may be more immigrants arrested than Swedes by birth but that can just as easily reflect the wealth levels in these different groupings and an under-resourced police force. When was the last time the police deployed any resource anywhere near Ostermalm or Danderyd for example? Finally the police detection/clear-up rate for all crimes in Sweden apart from murder is running at less than 10% of total recorded offences in any case so it hardly matters what the race of the tiny minority that get caught happens to be, it's not a large enough proportion to conclude anything about the majority of crimes. In conclusion it's very easy to see what's going on here, hate rhetoric to get some easy votes. The question is whether this threatens a civilised and democratic society. If it does I'm all for silencing those responsible permanently.
23:02 August 28, 2010 by David S
burrittos - you are correct, "one certain group of our immigrant "friends" is so vastly overrepresented in crime statistics"

You know which immigrant groups commit, by far, the most number of crimes in sweden? Finns, Danes, and Norwegians.

Even that, more than 9 out of 10 immigrants *never are even listed as a suspect in a crime*, and the vast majority of crime is committed by native swedes.

Yes, some immigrant groups have a higher relative risk of committing crime than others - but then, being male confers a 3 times high risk of committing crime than does being an immigrant!

So ... if SD were "honest" about their cause, they would be lobbying for an immediate decrease in immigration within the Nordics, not to mention doing something about those horrendous swedish males!
01:30 August 29, 2010 by Taxalien
The fault that has given rise to SD lies with media and the established parties. If they had reported crime statistics truthfully and openly we would not be discussing whether SD is or is not going to enter parliament. Because we would have been dealing with the issues.

Swedes are fantastic when it comes to avoiding to talk about difficult issues, avoiding confrontation and sticking their head in the sand. That is what this is all about.

As Eric Sevareid said (my translation back to english):

In a really bad society the press only reports only deals with the good stuff while in a really good society it reports mostly only about that which is bad...

Quite a striking observation. I understand why there is the Sun, The Mirror and the rest over in the UK....while here it has no equivalent.

Because we want to keep a lid on it.
09:37 August 29, 2010 by Nemesis
That advert is purely to get a reaction, from a muslim stupid enough to react and do something stupid.

The Sweden Democrats will most likely win at least one seat in the Rikstag unless something mental happens in Sweden before then. Any muslim murders someone or worse does a suicide bombing and they will get a lot more than one seat. Most native Skånans would vote Sweden Democrat if that happened and quote a few of the immigrants from eastern and western Europe, due to not having really found out what Sweden Democrats are. They are picking up votes from disguntled Social Democrat voters.

The problem is, a lot of Swedes deep down have a very bigoted core. The Sweden Democrats are hoping that if they push hard enough, that an idiot extremist muslim will do something stupid and play into there hands. That is what the recent advert they created for TV4 looks like to me, an attempt to get a reaction, which would work if shown on TV.

The immigration policies in Sweden are bordering on the insane. The Sweden Democrats know that and are making full use of that. They know that if someone crazy happens or not, the politicians in there ivory towers in the Rikstag will not act to change immigration policies, which will create even more support for the Sweden Democrats.

The Sweden Democrats are a sympton of the problems, not the cause. The Sweden Democrats feed of the problems created by ideological idiots making decisions in Stockholm, instead of working in a practical manner.

The Sweden Democrats will continue taking advantage of the situation and growing there support until someone in politics grows a spine and does something about it.

Hopefully, when the Sweden Democrats do get a seat, it will make the parties stop and think. Unfortunately as is usual in Swedish politics they will probably form a committee so they can keep denying there is a problem that led to the Sweden Democrats getting at least one seat, thereby further increasing support for the Sweden Democrats.
11:37 August 29, 2010 by Audrian
Jan M has raised pertinent points on the issue. It has elements of propaganda tactic by Nazi Germany in WWII. The ad by SD portraits violence against Moslems only for now. As a racist party, it will attack other minorities at another opportune time.
11:50 August 29, 2010 by locaxy
@Nemesis: "The Sweden Democrats are a sympton of the problems, not the cause."

True that! The cause of the "problem" is xenophobia. We all know the type of ideology SD is coming from...and that's not something that squares well with a globalised world or modernity.

SD will probably do quite well in this election, and that will hopefully shatter some myths about Sweden and Swedes.
13:46 August 29, 2010 by Nevermindwho
This is a rather interesting turn of events for TV4. They like to have it both ways.

In 2007 I filed a complaint against TV4 for running one particular advert out of a series of "funny commercials" on behalf City Gross. They were all done in the name of stereotyping humor, so most were acceptable: a comedian dressed as a French chef would say French words, then dressed as a German he would say German words, etc. When it came to playing the Japanese chef however, no words were afforded but just grunts and noises. The chef was reduced to sub-human. The actor also did something which has been practically "banned" for decades on TV-he dressed in "Yellowface" which is the equivalent of having a white actor put on shoe polish and pretend to be an "African savage" (think old black-&-white Tarzan). This one advert had clearly crossed the line into being offensive and racist.

I sent TV4 a study by the Independent Television Commission (ITC) regarding "Offense from Negative Stereotyping in TV Advertising" which covered a wide spectrum of adverts, citing the reasons why some things are inappropriate.

( http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/itc/research/boxed_in_offence.pdf )

TV4's legal department responded by outsourcing their own consultants-not an independent third party-to assess the commercials and give themselves the thumbs up, saying they did nothing wrong. So I brought the subject to the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) and to the attention of the Japanese Ambassador, and all of a sudden TV4 pulled off the ads.

Curiously, a few weeks later, TV4 began displaying a "Noll Racismen" logo together with its own TV4 logo for a few brief weeks. I remember thinking how hypocritical that was, but in hindsight I see they were actually changing their minds about the whole thing, but could not give me an acknowledgment that would be tantamount to an admission of wrongdoing and thus open themselves up for lawsuits.

Basically, TV4 does what it pleases. I was against TV4 then, but I am totally behind them now on their current policy of refusing such an advert stereotyping immigrants. There are valid points to be made and valid issues to be addressed by Sverige Demokraterna, but this advert does oversimplify the issues and incites racial hatred.
14:02 August 29, 2010 by RobinHood
Thank you TV4 for doing my thinking for me.

I really can't make up my mind who to vote for next month. Can you help me with that one too?

It's nice to know I have you around for these difficult decisions.
16:56 August 29, 2010 by richardbw
OK so I thought I would watch the advert, which I found at adland.tv . My first impression is it is a bit sensationalist (no surprise there then!) It definitely shows women in muslim clothes (burqa and niqab) competing against an old woman (of northern european appearance). The advert definitely picks out one religion (Islam) identifies it with immigration and implies that both are a threat to the financial security of the elderly (northern europeans = Swedes).

Is it racist? Probably. The advert could have used a mixed group of people for the 'immigrants'; africans, arabs, asians, non-Swede europeans, etc, but instead they choose one group (muslim women). So the advert is certainly antagonistic and likely to offend one group of people based on their race/religion, so it probably goes against the European Convention. I think the TV boss was wise to avoid this advert. Or to put it another way, I would not like to be the lawyer trying to convince a jury that the advert is not racist.
22:11 August 29, 2010 by glamelixir
I think that the sverigedemokraterna have a strong problem understanding the difference between immigration and refugees policies..

As an immigrant that has never EVER recieved a krona from this country I feel insulted for this kind of discrimination...
03:18 August 30, 2010 by Nevermindwho

Not just sverigedemokraterna but Swedes in general are quite ignorant as to what "immigration" really means and blind to who is an "immigrant." I've referred to myself a an "immigrant" before, only to have Swedes correct me with, "Oh no, but you're not an immigrant, you're from [FILL IN NAME OF SOME FAVOURED WESTERN COUNTRY THAT SWEDEN LOOKS UP TO]."

"Immigrant" is generally used on non-West-Europeans. If you're Caucasian from the US or UK, chances are you won't even be considered an "immigrant" by some Swedes.

- the biggest population of invisible immigrants are FInns -- one out of 20 people in Sweden are Finns or of Finnish descent!

- Sweden has had a long history of immigrantion like the influx of professional elite such as the smith and foundry-worker Walloons from Belgium centuries ago, but

- in recent decades there was an influx of laborers from Yugoslavia, etc.

But the ugly fact is, you won't likely be considered an "immigrant" if you happen to be the right color. You'll be "flying below the radar." However, if you happen to be an African American, Swedes will ask you to death repeatedly where you are really, really, really from, "from the beginning," if you insist on answering "USA" -- because "Africa" is the answer they are fishing for.

Heck, they'll even ask you "where in Africa you are from," because their self-proclaimed multi-cultural all-embracing enlightenment thinking dictates that we are all supposed to so proud of our roots -- and oh, no, you're not ashamed of where you're from, are you??? (So nevermind about history and the effects of the slave trade and that the question may be impossible to answer, Swedes are licensed to be socially inept and act like they are only trying to help you fill out this big void you must have regarding your identity and origins.)
19:36 August 30, 2010 by asemifertilemind
All of you who call this advert racist, please check your definitions of "race" - race is not a shared ideology, it is a biological term.

Islam, for example, like Christianity, is not a race of people. It is a broad definition of a certain religious ideology - the core of which, if one actually takes the koran literally, is actually opposed to many of the definitive tenets of western liberal democracies. This cannot be overlooked. The bibel, at least, is no longer taken literally.

This aside, what those islamophobes in the SD need to realise is that immigration or multiculturalism is to be celebrated - as a Swede i welcome other people into my country to share and enrich the existing culture and so they may experience what an open, tolerant, democratic society is like if they have not already. Then they will hopefully begin to see the senselessness in honour killings, sharia law and other backward religiously inspired concepts.

The bottom line is that multiculturalism is a two way process, an exchange, in Sweden this is for the most part a successful exchange. We should embrace it.
06:38 August 31, 2010 by Uncle
"as a Swede i welcome other people into my country to share and enrich the existing culture and so they may experience what an open, tolerant, democratic society is like "

Precisely. Christians, buddhists, jews and hindus come to a country, work hard, enrich the existing culture, bring in millions, open up a homogenous society, open the eyes of the locals to the world.

Muslims on the other hand are mostly unemployed (or collect unemployment, while working illegally). According to SVT, 70% of all muslim immigrants in Malmö are unemployed, It is a fact and not a racist assumption. Chance that a muslim will be convicted is 3 times (according to social democrats) and 10 times (according to a simple algebra) bigger than that of a non-muslim.

Again, according to Social Democrats, a muslim immigrant costs about 1,9MSEK until he STOPS taking money from the government. No stats in regards to whether he returns ths money ever. Given that there are not many working muslim women, I seriously doubt that this is ever repaid.

Believing the above:

1,9 MSEK * 500,000 muslims = 950 BILLION SEK are spent so far in order to accomodate this immigration. A bit more that the entire Hungary's GDP and way more than Peru's or New Zealand's GDP is spent in order to accomodate muslim population in Sweden.

Are you, people for REAL?
23:57 August 31, 2010 by samwise
didn't TV4 allow the chinese communist regime censor the nobel prize broadcast couple of years ago?
10:31 September 10, 2010 by asemifertilemind

Interesting statistics. Do you have a link to the article which contains this data? i would like to check it out and cant seem to find it.
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