Posted on September 2, 2010

Sweden’s Far-Right Furious: ‘Democracy in Danger’

The Swedish Wire (Katthammarsvik, Sweden), August 30, 2010

The small far-right Sweden Democrats party said Monday a second media outlet had refused to air its anti-immigration ad campaign, insisting it was being censored and Swedish democracy was in danger.

“That media representatives in this way would take on the role as censors and filter the message voters receive before the election is nothing less than a threat to democracy,” Sweden Democrat chief Jimmie Åkesson said in a statement.

The party, which according to recent polls could enter parliament for the first time after upcoming September 19 elections, complained last week that private broadcaster TV4 had refused to air its advert and said Monday private radio station SBS had also backed out of a deal to broadcast a radio version.

The television advert shows a race between an elderly woman and several women in burqas pushing prams with a slogan promising to safeguard pension funding at the expense of immigration.

The radio version meanwhile featured the same ad’s slogan, a female voice telling voters that “on September 19, you can choose between hitting the breaks on immigration instead of hitting the breaks on pensions. Vote for the Sweden Democrats.”

SBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but on Friday TV4 told AFP it had decided not to broadcast the advert because it considered it breached Swedish laws prohibiting messages containing hate grounded on race and religion.

“In this case it is against religion,” TV4 communications director Gunnar Gidefeldt said.

Sweden Democrat spokesman Erik Almquist rejected the idea that the ad campaign was illegal, and said the party was working on a new advert with a similar theme that it expected TV4 to broadcast.

“It would be ridiculous if they were to say the new film was illegal, so we expect it to go through,” he told AFP.

According to a survey published Sunday, the Sweden Democrats were polling at 4.6 percent of the vote, enough to enter parliament.

If they manage to pass the 4.0-percent threshold for the first time, political analysts believe the party could be in a powerful position with the two main blocs on course to split the vote.