Broadcaster agrees to air new far-right party ad

TV4, the Swedish television broadcaster which last week refused to air a campaign advert for the far-right Sweden Democrats, has agreed to send a reworked version.

The commercial network said in a statement it “decided Wednesday to broadcast the new campaign ad that the Sweden Democrats have sent in … after deciding

last week not to show an earlier version.”

The initial version, which appears on the party’s website, shows a race in the dark between an elderly woman and women in burqas pushing prams with a slogan promising to safeguard pension funding at the expense of immigration.

In the new advert, which TV4 has agreed to air, the whole race sequence is blacked out and covered with the words: “censured by TV4.”

“We stopped the last film because it breached both (our) guidelines … and our constitutional freedom of speech law banning incitement to hatred,” TV4 Group’s communications chief Gunnar Gidefeldt explained in the statement.

“This new film, in our opinion, does not do that,” he added, insisting it posed no problem to air an advert accusing the broadcaster itself of censorship.

“It is up to SD (Sweden Democrats) to choose what message they want to give with their film. If they choose to accuse us of something that is incorrect, we can definitely take that,” he said.

The Sweden Democrats, which according to recent polls could enter parliament for the first time after upcoming September 19 elections, complained of censorship last week after TV4 refused to air its initial advert and said Monday that private radio station SBS had also backed out of a deal to broadcast a radio version.

On Wednesday, however, the party said it was pleased the revised version of the film would be aired.

“We have done our best to remove all the elements in the film that TV4, with a huge amount of imagination, felt was politically offensive,” Sweden Democrats spokesman Erik Almqvist said in a statement.

“We are sorry that political censorship occurs in Sweden, but we now look forward to seeing our new advert on TV4 from September 6th-17th,” he added.

According to a survey published Sunday, the Sweden Democrats were polling at 4.6 percent of the vote, enough to enter parliament.

If they manage to pass the 4.0-percent 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.

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