Category Archives: Media

Reporting without proportions

2011-03-14 Monday
My daily reflections on this website have often – maybe too often – something to do with the writings in Dagens Nyheter. The reason is nevertheless quite natural since DN is the leading newspaper in Sweden and thus sets the agenda for a large part of the discussion. I should add that there is an overwhelming majority of center-right, what we call “borgerliga” (bourgeoisie) papers and that the Social Democrats control a shrinking number of newspapers with minute circulations and based mostly in smaller cities around the country.

In spite of the center-right dominance, media is often accused of harboring too many leftist (liberal, in US terms) journalists, which is a gross exaggeration, probably used mostly as an attempt to defend a disproportionate reality. Anyhow, since we have a tendency to point at the top, Dagens Nyheter has got the role of leading the herd.

We noticed in yesterdays DN a stunning blindness for the mass deaths and for the suffering people in Japan, in favor of an unmotivated fixation on the operational problems in a nuclear plant. Today the editor in chief seems to have sobered up, and the real and horrendous catastrophe in Japan was reasonably reported on. Only two pages were spent on the nuclear issue, mostly reporting that the problems are probably no problems… but on the other hand it’s leaking here and there, and you never know… etcetera.

Misconceptions, myths, sensationalism, and ignorance about facts are inherited from the last nuclear incident in a way so consistent that it must be considered intentional. If I should be wrong here, there is a heavy burden of proof for those who refutes that claim.

Sweden playing with Assange’s life

2011-02-25 Friday
A court in Britain has now decided that Julian Assange shall be handed over to Swedish authorities to be faced with accusations regarding sexual offences. The judgment is appealed by Assange’s legal assistants.

Here in Sweden there is still no discussion on what will happen once he is here. If the United States, with it’s special court prepared for Assange, puts pressure on the Swedish government to deliver him, it’s certainly a delicate question whether Sweden can resist. To claim that USA isn’t a law society is unthinkable. To refuse because the risk of a death penalty would be embarrassing. For Carl Bildt personally to come into conflict with his friends over there is hard to believe.

With all these uncertainties, and possibly the life or freedom of an international celebrity at stake, the silence in the media here is a mystery. Even more so when one considers that freedom of expression is a core question in the whole affair. For journalists here that fact normally inspires the highest degree of protection to the endangered individual. Dagens Nyheter, for instance, have for years been intensely campaigning for Dawit Isaak, a journalist and Swedish citizen of Eritrean origin, now suffering in an Eritrean jail on dubious accusations.

No such support for Assange is in sight in mainstream media. On the contrary occasional articles appear where his character is put in question on the sexual issue. As a Swede one can’t avoid asking: what are we about to do? Don’t we mean anything with our celebratory speeches about human rights and fundamental freedoms? Albeit USA consider him a spy or something, that’s understandable. But a moral obligation for non-allied countries is exactly that of offering shelter for people accused of political crimes by other governments.