Written complaint – Incitement to racial hatred on Radio 1

Association JUSTITIA PAX VERITAS
The Office of the Chancellor of Justice

 
Subject of the complaint: The statement of Gert Fylking, the host of the radio programme “Gerts Värld” aired on Radio 1 on 17 April 2012 at approximately 07.00. [1]
 

 
The host of the programme Gert Fylking slanders and expresses himself theatrically condescending about the Serbian people, equating them to Anders Behring Breivik and insinuating that the majority of the Serbian population are psychopaths and retarded.

“The world is filled with the ‘Breiviks’, we caught many others as well, we captured these Serbs [pause] who behaved like damned pigs, who killed several hundreds of thousands of people and chased away several million people, we caught them as well. But do you think that they are condemned by the Serbs? No! Serbs celebrate them like heroes! Who are the psychopaths then? Is the majority of the Serbian population retarded? Or is it only those people who are now convicted of war crimes who are retarded?”

The content of the mentioned statement is so obviously offensive that it does not need any particular clarification. A host of a nationwide radio station slanders – de facto criminalizes – and expresses contempt against a group of people alluding to national and/or ethnic origin.

It is clear, both by the host’s choice of words and his tone of voice, that above mentioned statements about the Serbs – containing epithets and labels such as ‘Breiviks’, ‘damned pigs’, ‘stupid’, ‘psychopaths’, cannot form a part of a factual and authoritative discussion. It is also clear that the dropped statements are meant seriously and that the purpose could not have been other than to express its abhorrence of and contempt against the Serbian people.

Gert Fylking’s blackening of the Serbs as a community is unfortunately not an isolated phenomenon but rather constitute a logical consequence of the media’s roughly one-sided portrayal of the war in ex-Yugoslavia [2]. Those who wanted to achieve a comprehensive coverage of the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia have through different mechanisms been shut out from the public discourse.[3] It would be cynical to appeal to the freedom of expression in defence of the suspect, especially in a climate where one could, in principle, express whichever accusations against one side in an ethnic-religious conflict, while those who try to nuance the image of the conflict are being subject to different forms of institutional [4] and non-institutional reprisals.

Against this backdrop it is not especially surprising that we had an opportunity to hear this chauvinist outburst from a well-known radio host and profile in the entertainment industry.

Worth of noting is that, according to the estimates of the Swedish Embassy in Belgrade[5], there are between 100 000 and 250 000 people of Serbian origin living in Sweden at present [6].

Many of these people of Serbian origin came to Sweden as refugees from the war in ex-Yugoslavia; have relatives among the war victims; or are themselves victims of ethnic cleansing which affected Serbian people as well.[7]

Against the backdrop of the current Swedish demographical structure it is obvious that these statements have not only damaged the slandered and attacked community but they have also damaged other important public interests e.g. inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in present-day Sweden.

Considering that the incitement to racial hatred is a crime often invoked by different influential organisations in the Swedish public, organisations which claim that they act from a universal perspective but which until now have been particularly silent regarding the case in question, it is of great importance that the law against the incitement to racial hatred is applied equally, regardless of the (lack of) social influence of the affected community.

 

Justitia Pax Veritas

Stockholm April 24, 2012

 

[1] See http://play.radio1.se/catchup/clip/6712; the statement in question can be found from 33’30’’ onward. Alternatively see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUoAcW8gE9Q.

[2] Note that Gert Fylking’s co-host in the radio programme in question, Kim Kärfalk, does not distance herself but rather complements his offensive statements and thereby takes part in the deed.

[3] Björn Eklund, a long-standing Managing Editor of the magazine ‘Ordfront’, has been laid off in 2004 only because a discourse critical interview. National Radio and TV Authority’s Review Committee (Granskningsnämnden) condemns as a rule any programme which does not follow the (un)official, one-sided discourse in the question of Yugoslavia, even without demonstrable factual errors.

[4] In this context it is alarming that the Swedish Government, or the Ministry of Employment to be more precise, allowed a Minister with “the responsibility over integration, discrimination and human rights issues” to in a clearly inappropriate and discriminatory manner address the inter-ethnic issues and import an alien conflict and civil war to Sweden. The concerned representative of the Swedish Government has through her public appearances repeatedly attempted to steer the range of the Swedish public service concerning the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia.

[5] The former Swedish Ambassador to Serbia, Krister Bringéus has pointed this out in several statements: “This cooperation depends of course on the large Serbian diaspora, counting several hundreds of thousands and who proudly can call themselves both Serbs and Swedes.” Mr. Bringéus in an interview to the Pressonline.rs ‘Ambasador Švedske: Investicija veka! „Ikea” u Srbiju ulaže više od milijardu evra’, Pressonline.rs, 2009, retrieved 2012-04-24, http://www.pressonline.rs/sr/vesti/vesti_dana/story/81866/Ambasador+%C5%A0vedske%3A+Investicija+veka%21+%E2%80%9EIkea%22+u+Srbiju+ula%C5%BEe+vi%C5%A1e+od+milijardu+evra.html
In Sweden, as [Bringeus] added, lives 250 000 people of Serbian descent.
Švedska pomaže razvoj Srbije’, B92.net, 2010, retrieved 2012-04-24, http://www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2010&mm=05&dd=04&nav_id=428734

[6] Numerous media in the ex-Yugoslav region have noticed Radio 1’s chauvinist outburst. See e.g.
http://www.nezavisne.com/… ; http://www.index.hr/… ; http://www.vesti.rs/… ; http://www.glassrpske.com/…

[7] It should be superfluous to point out that tributes to various war leaders and war lords has been occurring on all sides in the Yugoslav conflict. If you want to slander a specific community you can always find excuses. Even in Sweden controversial people are treated with apparent respect. Like for instance the former Minister of Former Affairs of the USA, Madeleine Albright, who can openly express that it is worth sacrificing half a million of children for a higher cause). The person who would on that ground insinuate that the majority of Swedes are psychopaths would rightly be considered as a psychopath him/herself.