• Sweden's news in English

'Sweden's manga-child porn case is reminiscent of the Eastern bloc'

2 Jul 2012, 17:27

Published: 02 Jul 2012 17:27 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Swedes are used to thinking of their society as egalitarian and well ordered. And of course, compared to many countries this is quite true.

We lack overt corruption, have rather shallow social divides, as well as a strong social contract between citizen and state.

Even so, the highly publicized court case against manga expert Simon Lundström, who was on trial for having child pornography in his computer, has many similarities to what went on in the former Eastern bloc or in an average third-world dictatorship.

It all started with a tip from Lundström's former partner, who told the prosecutor of the supposedly illegal content on the manga expert's computer.

Enter the police, who after sifting through tens of thousands of pictures came up with around 40 suspected cases of child pornography.

Just to make things even more dramatic, the offending images – cartoons really – weren't allowed be published in the Swedish media. In fact, it was illegal for anyone to look at them unless that person is an officer of the law or in some other way officially connected to the case.

So what do we have so far? A denouncement by colleague leading to a police raid, which produces evidence that is kept secret.

For anyone interested in transparency and the rule of law, the whole episode is a bit hard to swallow.

Even at the following trial(s), the rather bizarre charade continued.

After two consecutive convictions by lower courts, those of us following the case only had the prosecutor's word claiming that the images constituted illegal child pornography. Other people could not form their own opinions, as it was illegal to produce the images in public.

Does this ring any bells?

But not even the recent acquittal of Lundström by the Supreme Court feels too reassuring.

For what the ruling more or less says is that Simon Lundström, by being who he is – a manga expert, can quite legally keep one or two drawings in his vast collection that could, in other cases, be regarded as illegal child pornography.

Lucky for him.

But what if a future regular manga enthusiast by misadventure happens to download the very same pictures?

After all, we have on record that the Supreme Court still regards a few of the images in the manga expert's collection as illegal.

Story continues below…

Except not in Simon Lundström's case – because he happens to be an expert, not a consumer.

Not to mention the court's haphazard crack at evaluating the artistic merits of the drawings themselves in a desperate attempt to save this ill found piece of legal text.

In the end, it feels like the kind of legal quagmire that second rate dictatorships tend to end up in when they try to limit free speech.

Or when a benign social welfare state let's its own moralism guide its law-making.

Ola Tedin has written opinion journalism for several Swedish dailies, including Sydsvenskan and Expressen. He was the op-ed editor of the Ystad Allehanda newspaper from 2001 to 2011.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

08:46 July 3, 2012 by Mxzf
Now combine this with the use of 'arrests with special restrictions',


and, if you want - the police can already do anything and just excuse themselves:

17:27 July 4, 2012 by Swedishmyth
This is to Due Process what "hets mot folkgrupp" is to the First Amendment. Government is Sweden's unofficial national religion, and accountability isn't one of its hallmarks.
18:26 July 6, 2012 by tadchem
If possession of images depicting a crime becomes a crime itself, then every cinema, newspaper, magazine, television station, and a great many websites would need to be shut down and libraries would have to be locked until the offending material is destroyed.
19:33 July 7, 2012 by Garry Jones
Except most pedopholes who start off with this progress to raping children.

Child porn can be turned into cartoons in 2 seconds in Photoshop, So by releasing this pervert Sweden has opened the floodgates for thousands of children to be raped and filmed. As long as they turn the offending images into cartoon form it will be legal to spread them. An absolute joke. These people should be sent to prison.

To show how easy and convincing this can be here is a picture of David and Posh Beckham I turned into Manga.


Why the F*CK would anyone wanna look at cartoons of children being raped in cartoon form if they are not a raving pedophile?

Lock up the pedophiles!
15:53 July 8, 2012 by BackpackerKev
@gary jones,

that image is not Manga. it is quite obviously photo shopped. Where a real image involving real people is the source. now go and type in manga into Google images and see the difference. Had you done the slightest bit of research, you wouldn't embarrass yourself with your image.

"Except most pedopholes who start off with this progress to raping children. "

I suspect you have no reliable source or facts to backup this statement.

Views were already discussed on the previous article, it seems some have neglected to take on-board additional information that was put forward in that post.
16:22 July 11, 2012 by libertarianism
I don't have faith in the Swedish legal system, and I don't see Sweden as classless either. In fact, Sweden seems extremely two tiered: the everyman and the state. The everyman is worthless garbage, kept alive only as long as s/he is useful to the state; while the state (employee) can do whatever without consequence and is protected by hoards of so-called journalists who scream "hate speech" should anyone challenge their worldview or offer a lifepath that differs from their agenda. It's horrifically frightening that most people just sail along with these injustices. I've never witnessed such apathy.
19:20 August 15, 2012 by Gwen Killerby
"Except most pedopholes who start off with this progress to raping children. "

Well, you know this is true. Everyone I've ever known who used to drink mothers milk is now a severe alcoholic.... So, these 'pedopholes' (AKA those that put smelly shoes into holes in the ground) will most definitely do the worst imaginable: Put TWO pair of smelly shoes ...

"Child porn can be turned into cartoons in 2 seconds in Photoshop"

wow, an unprecedented twist on reality. Manga is NOT real life, and no amount of photoshopping will make it so.

CP is a serious issue, but clouding the issue with this crap is not good for kids nowhere.
02:51 March 29, 2013 by EddieR
What exactly is the eastern bloc? Soviet union fell apart quarter a century ago but you still associate eastern Europeans with backwardness, even assigning the "second rate dictatorship" tags to them, while claiming to be a very advanced society. Shame on you, especially since they deal with paedophiles somewhat harsher than you lot do. And I consider that a good thing.
Today's headlines
'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

The Local Recipes
How to make no-knead sourdough bread like a Swede
No-knead sourdough bread. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes love their sourdough bread. Food writer John Duxbury shares his favourite Swedish recipe for a no-knead loaf.

Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Forgotten Ingmar Bergman script to be made into a film
It's thought the script was part of an ill-fated collaboration between Bergman (left) and Federico Fellini (right). Photo: AP

Written in 1969, the script is 'up to the standard of his best', according to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available