As reported in the media, Gert Fylking, a well-known Swedish radio host, was suspended after his insinuation concerning Serbian similarities with the notorious mass killer Anders Breivik, calling them “damned pigs, psychopaths and retards.” After the suspension, Fylking’s apology was announced on the website of Radio1. It was also mentioned in the Entertainment and Culture section in two leading newspapers in Sweden, Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet.
Protest and Apology
Following from this, the official representatives of the Serbian community in Sweden and the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia, Dusan Crnogorčević, lodged a protest: “These are very serious allegations and on top of that many untruths. I feel singled out as an individual and as a representative of the Republic of Serbia. More than 100 000 Serbs live and work in Sweden, and they are affected, disgusted and angry about the fact that someone could categorize one entire nation in that manner,” said ambassador Crnogorčević to Dagens Nyheter on Monday. And when the dust around the scandal on Radio1 began to settle, the hate speech was reduced to a criminal justice problem for the relevant authorities.
Then celebrities and famous so-called “fighters against racism and intolerance” appeared on the scene, but instead of an appropriate condemnation, or at least distancing themselves from Fylking’s foul words of hatred, especially after even Fylking personally apologized and distanced himself from his own words, they relativized all those acts by referring to Fylking’s eccentric nature. In addition to repeating the offenses, they supplemented them with new, even more, serious allegations against the Serbian people.
“Serbs are worse than Breivik”
One of the persons who entered the scene was Lisa Bjurwald, who was until a few years ago member of the editorial board of Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet and later went on to Sweden’s best known “fighters against intolerance” organization, the newspaper Expo. She said that “the connection between the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik and Serbian war criminals in general is not difficult to uncover.”
In the article “Cowardly to suspend Fylking” published on the web portal medievärlden.se, Bjurwald engages in legal reasoning. Thus in her opinion, the intention of the radio presenter “was not to offend the Serbian people as a whole but rather to show that Breivik’s extremist ideas are not so extreme, but widely accepted in many places in Europe,” says the well-known writer, although the radio host didn’t mention Europe at all, but Serbia and Serbian people only.
“The fact that Serbia lacks the political will to make its war criminals face justice is well known, as well as the fact that these war criminals are praised as heroes and that many (Serbs) believe that the genocide is a myth,” writes Bjurwald in her article, which seems to be more of a directive aimed at the Public Prosecutor to withdraw the investigation concerning criminal charges for racial hatred.
As we found out, representatives of the organization Justitia Pax Veritas, one of the applicants of the criminal complaint against Radio1 for racial hatred, asked for a space to reply. The editorial staff of this web portal refused the request on the grounds that the right to reply is reserved only for “people from media”.
Mocking the Serbian protests and comparisons with Nazi Germany
Famous radio and television presenter and journalist Robert Aschberg, editor in chief of the abovementioned newspaper Expo, and Fylking’s colleague from Radio1, in his column entitled “Ridiculous over reaction,” published in the newspaper Aftonbladet, insinuated and equated Serbia with Nazi Germany, and mocked the protest of the Ambassador Dusan Crnogorčević in Stockholm.
“It can be said that the Germans started the Second World War,” writes Aschberg, although in Fylking’s passionate hate speech there was not a single word on who is to blame for the outbreak of war in former Yugoslavia. “If it was told on air, should the German ambassador write a letter of protest on behalf of all Germans that may find themselves offended?” this influential publicist asked at the end of the column, obviously targeting the Ambassador Crnogorčević and the bitter reaction of the Serbs in Sweden as well.
Although Aschberg’s article sparked many heated reactions, primarily on the Serbian side, but also a huge approval from Bosniak commentators, Aftonbladet has not yet agreed to publish a reply to the serious allegations from the chief editor of Expo, which otherwise often presses criminal charges for racial hatred against extreme right-wing circles in Sweden.
Swedish politician: The radio must apologize to the host for the suspension!
And while many wonder how to deal with such awful propaganda, considering that all the journalists who ever have had a different opinion regarding the conflict in former Yugoslavia have, for a long period of time, been silenced and driven away, some more news arrived. A Green Party politician Jonas Paulsson, positioned in Stockholm says that Radio1 has to apologize to Gert Fylking for the suspension.