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‘Liberal’ Swedish newspapers clamp down on free speech

Posted by sverigeidag på september 4, 2011

Several self-proclaimed ‘liberal’ Swedish newspapers have found a way to deal with the problem of growing public opposition to immigration and Islamification – by banning views critical of multiculturalism from their websites.

The move has been taken after too many posts expressing resistance to Sweden’s accelerating Islamification and foreignisation have appeared in the online comments sections of some of the country’s top newspapers.

The newspaper Expressen has decided to close the possibility to comment on articles in real-time discussion forums on its website. Its editor-in-chief, Thomas Mattson, said he wanted to keep a better check on what is being written and hopes to avoid ‘racist’ comments.

‘The Internet is ripe for the audience, but the audience is not ripe for the internet,’ Mattson said.

‘It is not an easy decision for a liberal newspaper to state that, for a period of time, it is to limit people’s ability to express themselves, but we must take a responsibility for those that feature in our articles will not be subjected to derogatory comments and that the network does not become a forum covert racism.’

Mattson said he expected more media firms to follow suit in order to stifle comments that are ‘contrary to the good tone that all the media are seeking’.

‘I think that everyone who sees the potential of the internet considers it a failure that one cannot entrust the web users to comment freely because there are a few who abuse the system,’ he said.

‘Several xenophobic commentators have accused me of censorship and said that the media want to stifle debate on integration policy, but it’s about complying with the laws. It is possible to discuss the integration policy, but without personal attacks and racist comments.’

Dagens Nyheter has also announced a decision to temporarily turn off the ability to comment on articles online. The newspaper will introduce a new login system in October that will require registration and email addresses, and until then all of the discussion forums will be closed.

DN Editor Gunilla Herlitz said: ‘It will not be as anonymous as before but it is a threshold in order to raise the level of comments. We have seen that there have been posts that have grossly violated the policy we have. It can, for example, concern racist remarks.’

She expects the number of commenters to be smaller with the new system.

‘There will obviously be consequences. At the same time we note that many of the newspaper’s articles are spread in other ways, by sharing on Facebook and other sites so the comment function is perhaps less important,’ Herlitz said.

Sweden’s largest newspaper by circulation, Aftonbladet, has also announced restrictions on the freedom to post anonymous comments online.

The newspaper plans to present its new policy on Tuesday, with a statement informing readers that anyone who wants to comment on articles can still do so, but with a log in via their Facebook profile.

                     Is Sweden copying Islam’s line on dissent? Muslims in Malaysia burn a Swedish flag after
                     artist Lars Vilks drew pictures of Mohammed

BNP

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