Katerina Janouch

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A new censorship proposal: Freedom of speech about to die in Sweden

av | 23 mar, 2018 | Samhälle

Lästid: 4 minuter

Critical voices are likely to be silenced because the government wants to change two fundamental laws in order to limit the freedom of expression. In addition, the government is financing leading media companies to eliminate “fake news” before the election in September. Are we talking about a country behind the former Iron Curtain, in the Middle East or in Africa? No, this is Sweden – a country with a proud tradition of democracy and freedom of speech. If someone just a few years ago had said that Sweden would soon be introducing something reminiscent of censorship laws, I would have considered that person crazy.

Let’s begin with the law that is expected to start applying from January 1, 2019. The government bill up for consideration will prohibit private individuals from accessing public documents such as databases of court judgments, which contain information about convicted persons’ national origin, political opinions, religion or union membership. However, the law will not apply to everyone – the mainstream print media, government offices and a few other organisations will still be able to access that kind of information. This is not only unfair but also contrary to the basic ideas enshrined in   “the Fundamental Law on the Freedom of Expression”: the rule that allows every citizen the right to access public documents.

Voting in the Riksdag (parliament) will take place in May, and the proposal is likely to be approved because the only party that has expressed opposition so far is the Sweden Democrats who want a referendum on the issue. Since both “Freedom of the Press” and “The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression” are fundamental laws, the new Riksdag will also need to approve the changes after the Swedish election held in September. If they do, the bill will become law from January 1, 2019.

This will have devastating consequences for the diversity of voices in the debate; a proud 250-year -old tradition of freedom of speech is being dismantled. It also seems as if the strategy is to keep the Swedes unaware of what is going on. In the traditional media, it has far been quiet about what is happening. Hardly anyone talks about it except a few committed free speech activists.

The fact that the established media doesn’t worry is probably due to the second new proposal on the cards, which will strengthen their power and at the same time make the public even more helpless. With this new law in place, the media Establishment will still be able to access information, while the public won’t have the same opportunity. One can say that only “state-authorized” journalists – that is, those who do what the politicians say – will be able to convey the “truth” to the people in the future.

So what is this second threat? The leading Swedish media groups, including the state-owned television and radio companies, have begun to collaborate to develop a digital platform that aims to prevent “fake news” from being spread before the election. The platform may include reviews of facts claimed by various editors, statements in the political debate or data or opinions disseminated in social media.

What is worse is that this is partly financed by state-owned Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency. The most outrageous innovation is the “Facts Assistant”, a digital tool that automates fact checking of news edits. This tool can be used to reduce the risk of “fake news” and “irrelevant” facts reaching the people.

It is also remarkable that the project manager who has been appointed to identify what news is irrelevant for Swedish media consumers comes from Swedish Television. State television is already known for having a strong left-wing agenda and for selecting and angling the reporting in a way that often violates their mandate to report issues broadly and objectively. There are many examples of news stories featured in the alternative media which never are reported in established media. Now, tax money is added to silence these voices! Among the public, there is already today the widespread opinion that traditional media don’t pay so much attention to sexual abuse, abuse, robbery and honour-related violence as the alternative media does. Can it really be so bad that established media have been instructed that these data are “irrelevant” for Sweden’s population? In order to make the people believe that crime and sexual violence levels have gone down?

Maybe they apply the strategy “What you don’t see in the headlines is not happening.” It is simply – irrelevant. A more appropriate name of the “Fact Assistant” would be the “Fact Denier” which, however, definitely should not receive a single penny of the public’s money.

About Katerina Janouch: She is a writer and journalist who, for many years, has a been a well known sex and relationship expert. She has worked for several leading newspapers and for both radio and television. She made her debut 1993 with her first novel and has since then written a series of books for both adults and children. In january 2017 she sparked a controversy in Sweden openly criticizing Swedish migration policies. Since then, she is writing about contemporary development of Sweden and has just published her new book, “Bilden av Sverige” (The picture of Sweden) Contact: info@katerinamagasin.se

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Blir glad för varje liten slant! Och oerhört tacksam om du köper mina böcker. De nyaste hittar du här nedan. Största tacken på förhand! Thank you! Dekuji! Merci. Danke. Och tack alla ni som redan bidragit, ni anar inte hur glad jag är över det ni ger och det ni skriver, även om jag inte kan tacka var och en av er personligen. Ni ger mig kraft och mod att fortsätta. <3 Tillsammans kan vi förändra världen.

Min nya bok “Bilden av Sverige” kan du köpa här:

https://www.bokus.com/bok/9789198405170/bilden-av-sverige/

https://www.adlibris.com/se/bok/bilden-av-sverige-9789198405170

 

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Bic: ESSESESS

Blir glad för varje liten slant! Och oerhört tacksam om du köper mina böcker.

Största tacken på förhand!

Thank you! Dekuji! Merci. Danke.

Och tack alla ni som redan bidragit, ni anar inte hur glad jag är över det ni ger och det ni skriver, även om jag inte kan tacka var och en av er personligen.

Ni ger mig kraft och mod att fortsätta. 

Tillsammans kan vi förändra världen.

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