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Schueler’s conclusion: the Free Press Society in Malmö, like its original in Copenhagen, “is not about defending freedom of expression or freedom of the press,” but is rather about defending “extremist” opinions of “certain groups and phenomena,” namely “Muslims, multiculturalism, and feminism,” and is thus, ultimately, about spreading and intensifying bigotry. “In Sweden, as in Denmark,” proclaimed Schueler, “freedom of speech and of the press has its limits. Laws…have been enacted to prevent racist and extremist persecution of Jews, Muslims, homosexuals, and other minorities. Unfortunately, this has been necessary, for words are neither neutral nor innocent.”
And so ended his article. This, mind you, from a newspaper editor. Needless to say, the notion that Muslims in the West are the subjects of “extremist persecution” is a cornerstone of politically correct thinking in Europe, as it is in North America. But while journalists like Schueler, in addition to propagating this falsehood, may be willing to admit, as he does, that Jews and gays in Europe are the objects of widespread abuse, they prefer to avoid the ticklish fact that the perpetrators of this abuse are overwhelmingly Muslim. Nor do they particularly wish to discuss such topics as the subordination of women under Islam or the very real – and systematic, widespread, and brutal – persecution of Christians and Jews in Muslim countries. It is the right to address such truths with candor and courage that the Free Press Society exists to protect.
On March 17, Free Press Society founder Ingrid Carlqvist penned a highly apposite reply to Schueler, noting that if he doesn’t recognize “that free speech is threatened in Sweden” it “is because he, like nearly all other Swedish journalists, has completely failed to perform his duty.” She quoted the late historian Knut Carlqvist (apparently no relation): “The Swedish media have never realized that their job is to keep an eye on the state and power. They think their job is to educate the people” – in other words, to echo the political establishment’s line and do their best to ensure, day by day, that the Swedish people toe that line.
The Free Press Society exists, Ingrid Carlqvist explained, to resist that lockstep tendency – “to highlight and publicize the many issues to which Sweden’s mainstream media respond with silence.” She asked why Schueler and other Swedish journalists “are so fearful of me and the Free Press Society? Because I know their agenda inside out. With over thirty years’ experience in Swedish newsrooms, I know exactly what kind of talk goes on among my colleagues.” She pointed out that Schueler and other critics of her group could have “respond[ed] to us with substance”; instead, by engaging in the usual name-calling, labeling the Free Press Society as a bunch of racists, Nazis, and Islamophobes, Schueler and his ilk have simply demonstrated that everything the group says about the Swedish media’s modus operandi is absolutely correct.
The Swedish media’s demonization of the Free Press Society has already, alas, proven effective: as Carlkvist noted, her organization had to cancel an event on the topic “Gender Studies at the Universities: Science or Madness?” because a witch hunt on Twitter had resulted in cancellations by two of the three scheduled presenters. (One of them blogged that he had withdrawn from the event after discovering that the Free Press Society stands for “xenophobic values that I do not share and do not want to be associated with.”)
Carlkvist ended her piece with a grim but incontrovertible affirmation: there is no free speech in Sweden. “A country where journalists serve the power structure and see it as their most important responsibility to ‘educate people’ is in desperate need of a Free Press Society. When people have forgotten that it was the silence and fear of not thinking like everyone else that brought the Nazis to power in Germany, then we are in trouble.” Indeed. If any country needs a Free Press Society, it’s Sweden. Best of luck to Carlkvist and her gutsy colleagues. They’ll need it.
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