Say NO to the instrumentalization of journalists in election campaigns!

The Swedish newspaper Expressen’s recent witch-hunt against an NGO indicates that the the concentration of media ownership in Sweden and the subsequent absence of a genuine media diversity can corrupt journalism, to the extent where journalists allow themselves to be instrumentalized in cut-throat election campaigns. The NGO in concern (Justitia Pax Veritas) has written an open letter and called upon the Swedish journalist force to say NO to the instrumentalization of journalists in election campaigns.

Say NO to the instrumentalization of journalists in election campaigns!

Since the European parliamentary elections are over, we would like to update the Swedish journalist corps about recent slander made against the NGO Justitia Pax Veritas (JPV) and it’s chairman, Drago Drangel. The slander was published in an article written by the newspaper Expressen, with the intended promotion of a politician’s personal election campaign.

It has recently become known that the newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad was bought by the Bonnier Group. Consequently, the newspapers culture editor, Gunnar Bergdal, stated that Sweden is on the way to shift towards ”commercial DDR journalism”. [1] Expressen’s [2] article “ The profiles that support genocide deniers”, written by Claes Petersson, Karl-Johan Karlsson, and published on the 25-th of April, 2014, shows that the absence of a genuine diversity in the “medial DDR-kingdom” can corrupt journalism to the extent that journalists allow themselves to be instrumentalized in the inherently cut-throat election campaigns. [3]

The Serbs’ Association in Sweden characterized Expressens article as a plain-and-simple witch-hunt [4] against the JPV, two famous Swedish Serbs from sport and television, and a local Socialdemocratic politician, who on several occasions defended the Serb minority from serious attacks in media.

In contrast to Expressen’s “investigative journalism” the journalists also mentioned “the Bosnian politician of Liberal Party Jasenko Selimovic”. This politician is claimed to be “JPV’s arch-enemy”. This controversial politician was, however, not scrutinised in the article.

Peterson’s and Karlsson’s article starts with a rather emotional story related to the Srebrenica massacre, telling about a man who ”crawled over a mountain of bullet-riddled bodies” and how the man ”heard how his friends’ bullet-riddled ribs broke.” Images that occurred in connection with the article, are to put it mildly, indicative: On one hand, images of a smiling ”genocide denier” Drago Drangel (in some images being portrayed together with his little daughter) and JPV’s logo; on the other side a picture of the coffins from Srebrenica and a picture of a concerned Jasenko Selimovic.

This rough, black and white, outline made it easy to foresee the article’s intention. When Expressen, three days later, on their editorial page published a promotional article for the relevant politician, it became quite clear that Selimovic is not only the Liberal Party candidate, but also Expressen’s candidate for the European Parliament. [5]

Preceding the article’s publication, one of it’s authors, Claes Petersson, contacted JPV’s chairman Drago Drangel, with ten accusatory questions for which he demanded answers. It was clear that the journalist already had a rather biased idea of ​​JPV, one which he merely seeked confirmation.

The evidence suggests that Expressen’s two journalists got their ”inspiration” in the following paragraph from a Dagens Nyheter article that was slammed by the Swedish Press Council last spring:

”Drago Drangel, collector of genocide denial material, and one of the driving forces behind the genocide denial in Sweden, calls for a ”dialogue” in his response. Without saying it clearly, he believes in a dialogue with genocide deniers, based on the argument that there are three truths about the war, and that he represents the Serb side”. [6]

However, JPV still chose to present its views, arguments and sources in an e-mail reply sent to Petersson. This email reply was also published on JPV’s webpage, the very same day. Anyone who is reading the reply, containing the interview, may quickly understand that all of the accusations in the article had already been answered in the interview itself. Yet, the journalists chose to ignore the asserted positions, arguments and sources. [7]

The result was the above-mentioned “investigative article”, that is literally crawling with made-up or distorted opinions, overlooked circumstances, out-of-context and several years old Facebook messages bundled together – all of it seasoned with guilt by association. This is an article in which past and present, and cause and effect, change places with each other in a “liberal” post logical spirit. Where critical thinking shines with its absolute absence and where ad hoc bodies (Hague Tribunal) are equally accessible to criticism as was the Roman Catholic Church during the Spanish Inquisition. [8]

Petersson and Karlsson’s article in Expressen is a worrying indicator when it comes to human equality, freedom of opinion, freedom of association and democracy and are indicative of the above mentioned medial DDR kingdom converted to empty buzzwords, which are used arbitrarily. In such a climate, there is no room for an open debate on the core issues that shape our future. In such a climate, you are either ”with us”, and get help with your personal campaigns, or you’re ”against us” and get to taste our ”investigative journalism”.

Justitia Pax Veritas is hereby calling on the entire Swedish journalist corps, including Expressen’s two journalists, to say NO to character assassinations of dissidents, and NO to the instrumentalization of journalists in election campaigns.

Justitia Pax Veritas

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[1] Culture Editor: ”Commercially DDR Waiting”

[2]The Newspaper Expressen is owned by the Bonnier Group.

[3] Peterson’s and Karlsson’s definition of the nature of cutthroat term ”genocide deniers” includes all of those who questioned the Hague Tribunal’s use of criminal qualifications; William Schabas, President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and probably the world’s foremost expert in the field , professor Kjell Magnusson from Hugo Valentin Centre, Uppsala University, Sweden’s top Balkans and genocide expert, Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Christoph Flügge and Prisca Nyamba, both judges at the Hague tribunal – to name a few .

[4] Srebrenica – A response to Expressen’s witch hunt article “profiles that support genocide deniers”

[5] EU – A cohesive force against conflicts.—sammanhallande-kraft-mot-konflikter/

[6] PON condemns Dagens Nyheter’s defaming of a JPV representative condemnd article was written by the politician Jasenko Selimovic. The newspaper Dagens Nyheter is owned by the Bonnier Group.

[7] JPV’s interview with Expressen

[8] It is no overstatement to say that the article “Profiles that support genocide deniers” really is a launch of a new religion in Sweden, which is not only excluded from all criticism, but must be imposed on all other ”infidels.” Notably, the article was first published on April 25th, exactly one month before the EU elections.