Sunday, March 14, 2010

Online Swedish Newspaper Allows Anti-Semitic Content

The online newspaper The Local is an English-language Swedish daily. On March 13, they published an article  called “Three cartoon murder plot suspects freed” which covered the release earlier this week of three people who were arrested in Ireland on suspicion of plotting to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Vilks has lived under constant threat since 2007 when the local Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published his satirical cartoon portraying the prophet Muhammad.  The cartoon was printed to emphasize the importance of the freedom of expression.


Lars Vilks satirical cartoon

After The Local’s article about the released suspects was published yesterday, the newspaper enabled its readers to discuss the article. These talkback comments have, according to The Local , “not been moderated in advance and are not produced by The Local unless clearly stated. Readers are responsible for the content of their own comments. Comments that breach their terms and conditions will be removed.”

In The Locals terms and conditions it is guaranteed that:

We will remove posts which put us in legal jeopardy, or which may be prejudicial to the commercial interests of The Local Europe AB, including, but not limited to, those which are:

a. Potentially or actually in breach of copyright laws in that they include direct reproductions of material already published elsewhere;

b. Potentially libellous or defamatory

c. An incitement to break the law.”

Still, in talkback #13 on the article “Three carton murder plot suspects freed”, one reader’s comment was posted and not removed:

17:09 March 13, 2010 by arslan11

Make cartoons about holocaust and see what happens to Sweden freedom of speech??

Is this freedom to hurt feelings of more than billion human beings who follow Islam ??

What will happen if this Jew cartoonist do same with Jesus image?? That's why Jews are worst creatures living on this planet.

The article in the Local did not talk about Jews and Vilks is neither of Jewish origins. The post now has been up for more than 24 hours, and one can therefore only assume that the The Local does not consider this highly anti-Semitic comment as either libellous or defamatory as it is still posted on The Locals discussion board.

If one continues to read the talkbacks on the page, it is clear that many other readers, clearly, are disturbed and outraged by the comment made by “Arslan11”. Conversely, the newspaper does not feel that the comment is libellous or defamatory—The Local lets anti-Semitism live and prosper.

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