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Swedes aim to 'correct' paper's 'xenophobic' ad

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Swedes aim to 'correct' paper's 'xenophobic' ad
A picture of the DN advert that many labelled as xenophobic. Photo: TT
15:10 CET+01:00
After a leading Swedish newspaper published an ad for a book critical of multiculturalism and immigration, Swedes are raising money for a counter-ad in an attempt to correct what they see as errors and to set the record straight.
The advert was for a book entitled “Immigration and blackout” (Invandring och mörkläggning) and was written and published by Arnstberg and Gunnar Sandelin. It ran as a full-page spread in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) broadsheet on Sunday and featured a list of statistics from among others Statistics Sweden (SCB) and the Migration Board (Migrationsverket).
 
In response to the ad, which has been slammed by critics for being tainted by xenophobia, Swedish blogger and PhD student in social work Veronica Svärd is now raising money for a counter-ad. She posted a blog on Monday in which she took the ad to task over its key points, dissecting eight of the statistical interpretations and explaining how they are misleading or incorrect. And Sweden responded.
 
"The blog post has been spreading wildly in a very short time, especially on Twitter," Svärd told The Local on Wednesday. The entry has been read over 60,000 times since it was uploaded, and has already raised over 10,000 kronor of the 115,000 kronor ($17,600) target. 
 
For example, Svärd took issue with the statistic that Sweden has approved 1.1 million residence permits to foreigners since 2000, explaining that many of these cases were simple renewals or even temporary permits for visiting students or workers.
 
The counter-ad will be a condensed version of the blog, and was kicked off by artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin and politician and former Left Party leader Gudrun Schyman, who told media trade magazine Resumé that she thought the original advert was "strange and in bad taste".
 
Svärd herself said she wanted to set the record straight, and to raise discussions of bigger issues. 
 
"I think it's important that the we show the figures presented are not actually correct. In fact, they are very misleading," she told The Local. "It's important that people are engaged in questions of anti-racism."
 
She said the original advert was far from an invite to objectively examine Swedish immigration policy, but rather had a political message hiding in between the lines.
 
"The advertiser's aim is obviously not to discuss migration, but to say that immigration is a bad thing," she wrote on the blog.
 
She also criticized that the advert stated that 70 percent of asylum seekers were still unemployed after two years. 
 
"So what?" she wrote. "We could just as well say that '95 percent of Swedish-born people are still unemployed after 18 years'."
 
To find out more about donating, and to read the full blog entry (in Swedish), click here.
 
Oliver Gee

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