To add extra irony to the newspaper’s behavior, not long after defending the blood-libel article as an exercise of “free speech”, Aftonbladet publicly announced that it would not accept any paid advertising ahead of the upcoming election from the anti-immigration political party Sverigedemokraterna (the Sweden Democrats).
John Sobieski was motivated by all this to write a letter to the editor. Here’s his story:
Baron,- - - - - - - - -
After reading Aftonbladet and their reasons for not publishing SD adds — and your article on IFPS — I decided to mail them and ask for a comment.
This is what I sent them:Dear Sir/Madam,
It has come to my attention that the infinite wisdom of the great omnipotent aftonbladet may be in conflict with its own common rules.
In reading an article on the International Free Press societies web site, I have learned that aftonbladet has made it their business to decide what freedom of the press actually means. I wonder as to whether the actual role of news agencies in Sweden are different than in other parts of the world? Is it true that Sweden is a democratic nation? Is it also true that Sweden upholds the value of freedom of the press?
The Swedish government itself said that it would not get involved in the matter concerning your fabricated Israeli organ harvesting article because it was a part of the freedoms that we as Swedes uphold. In this respect, the mere fact that you yourselves will not publish SD advertisements is indicating that you yourselves are taking a political standing against specific ideologies. This will lead any reasonable person to the conclusion that you have chosen sides, and now have become a mere political puppet?
I must ask — is your paper a political puppet? Is Mona Sahlin holding little strings above you?
You argue that a populist Xenophobic movement is beginning in Sweden right now, and it has already happened in countries around Europe. You say that you are trying to shield the public from this argument, trying to conceal this ideology. I have to know, is this the job of the press? Are you so all knowing that you know what is best for the Swedish public? Do you have such little faith in your readers?
This action shows the following things.
1. The left-wing monopoly is shifting in Sweden (something shown by the latest elections). 2. You yourselves are scared. 3. Aftonbladet is no longer concerned with the truth, but has become part of a political ideology. 4. Aftonbladet has accused the Swedish people of being stupid.
I only hope that the freedoms that are so often preached by the media in Sweden do not continue to be selective.
I was surprised to find in my inbox the next day a reply:
Sorry, you are not correctly informed.
I was concerned for the welfare of Al-Aftonbladet. Having such articulate reporters must have been of concern for the omnipotent one. I decided to reply:Lena,
Thank you for your response, however brief.
If that is in actual fact the case, then may I ask you for comment regarding this? If it is not your intention to corrupt the public opinion, and force the SD ideology into premature retirement then what is your goal as an impartial media agency?
There are many in the public who are sick of the situation where Aftonbladet is preaching a leftist pro-islamic stance. I have even seen that your newspaper has a new nickname. You are called by many Al-Aftonbladet. Is that how you want to be perceived?
I would much appreciate a more fruitful reply next time, but I do realise that time is money. You may have more pressing things to do.
As of yet, I have not received a reply, but “watch this space” for any reaction.
I do wonder, why is it so difficult for them to formulate a comprehensive reply? The points I outlined were fair (IMO) and straightforward enough, and the fact that of all European countries, the Swedes comprehension of English is beyond reprove.
I hope for a reply, but I am not holding my breath.
Al-Aftonbladet. That has a nice ring to it.
Like Al Jazeera, only with surströmming.