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July 14, 2016 4:12 pm

Swedish Public Television Blocks Documentary Linking Jihad to Antisemitism for Fear of Offending Muslims

avatar by Lea Speyer

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Swedish broadcaster SVT has refused to air a documentary linking jihad and anitsemitism out of fear of reprisal from the country's Muslim population. Photo: Watching the Moon at Night.

Swedish broadcaster SVT has refused to air a documentary linking jihad and anitsemitism out of fear of reprisal from the country’s Muslim population. Photo: Watching the Moon at Night.

Swedish state television blocked the airing of a documentary linking jihad to antisemitism, out of fear it would offend the country’s growing Muslim population, the Danish language news outlet Berlingske reported.

According to the report, Sveriges Television (SVT) is coming under fire for refusing to broadcast “Watching the Moon at Night,” due to “political correctness.” 

SVT was a major funder of the documentary, which takes an in-depth look at the link between jihad and Jew-hatred, demonstrating the extent to which Jews have been affected by terrorism. Mahrianne Ahrne — a former film consultant at the Swedish Film Institute who initially approved public funding for the documentary — told Berlingske that once the money was approved, SVT kept thwarting the film’s production with “one formal obstacle after another.”

Bo Persson, the film’s director, revealed that SVT project manager Lars Säfström demanded the movie be more anti-Israel and anti-American. “He tried to influence the film’s content…For us it was totally unacceptable that he should interfere with the content,” Persson said.

The Swedish broadcaster has denied accusations that it is refusing to show the film for political reasons. SVT’s head of documentaries, Axel Arnö, said the documentary did not fit in with the channel’s journalistic standards, as it attempts to prove a single point, rather than chronicle reality.

An online petition, supported in part by the film’s director, is already making the rounds. “In these fraught and dangerous times, terrorism and antisemitism threaten the institutions of democracy everywhere. Attempting to hide this reality and distorting the public debate is the worst way to confront these threats when we should instead stand up for human rights and European values,” the petition states.

This is not the first time SVT has been accused of journalistic censorship. In 2015, Swedish magazine Fria Tider exposed a manual developed by SVT listing acceptable language to use while reporting on controversial issues.

For example, the term “immigrant population” was to be replaced with “socially/economic deprived area,” and “refugees” to “people on the run.” Concerning matters of race, the manual warns its journalists to “be aware that concepts of black and dark skin can arouse criticism.”

Over the last year, Sweden has seemingly buckled under pressure from the thousands of Muslim refugees who have entered the country. According to a Pew Research Center survey published this week,  57 percent of Swedes fear that Muslim refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism in their country.

“Watching the Moon at Night” has premiered in six countries and featured in numerous film festivals.

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  • svt is being controlled by a criminally foolish or wicked group that would prefer national suicide to a candid exposition and analysis of the problems of fanatical hatred that were needlessly foisted upon swedish society by poor leadership and its insane immigration policy.

    svt might think that it is “just a Jewish problem” and, of course, it started there; the Jews, as so often, are the first victims. but, whatever the first targets, it won’t stop there. the question that Sweden must contemplate, if, as it seems, it is unconcerned about the attacks on Jews, is how big a price Sweden, itself, the Swedish people, are prepared to pay to avoid a candid, dispassionate, reckoning with the facts.

    without such a reckoning, Sweden will, within a decade or two, be unrecognizable: whatever was worth preserving will have been destroyed and in place of a liberalism that lost its mind, one will find a theocratic tyranny.

    the Malmo-ization of Sweden is well underway. are there any Swedes who think that there is anything worth defending in Sweden?

  • Teaneck to Boca

    Sweden will wake up one day and won’t recognize itself. Sadly. Its city of Malmo today is a case in point with Muslims ruining the city and attacking its local Jews. It’s a world war out there. Are you for the civilization you built, or for others to come in and destroy it? I know what side I’m on.

  • Jay Lavine

    I would prefer the term “political expediency” over “political correctness.” But it’s certainly better to can the documentary than to alter it in a dishonest way. I’m gratified, however, to see the expression “European values” in the petition and to know there are still some people who stand up for what’s right. I would hope to see much more of that in the future. Enough is enough.