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20 May, 2019 13:19

‘Democratorship’: Swedes lambast TV channel for refusing to air anti-EU ‘Swexit’ ad

‘Democratorship’: Swedes lambast TV channel for refusing to air anti-EU ‘Swexit’ ad

Swedish commercial broadcaster TV4 has refused to air an anti-EU promo, prompting outrage on social media. The Alternative for Sweden (AfS) party wanted to run the ad showing a single word – ‘Swexit’ – ahead of the EU elections.

AfS leader Gustav Kasselstrand said the decision by the channel – the only one in Sweden allowed to show political ads – was “a threat to freedom of expression and democracy.” He said TV4 “affects the election results in a crucial way” by “prohibiting advertising from the only party that drives the issue of EU withdrawal,” while there are many in Sweden who oppose the EU.

The 15-second long ad features the word ‘Swexit’ written in blue letters on a yellow background, Sweden’s national colors, and spelled out by a child.

The party planned to run the ad ahead of the May 26 EU election, but according to the AfS, the broadcaster pulled out from the talks without any explanation.

“Unbelievable. Had the opposition in Hungary, Poland or Russia been completely shut down from advertising in the middle of a crucial election campaign, it would have been major news in Sweden and spurred gossip about the lack of democracy and calls for sanctions,” former MP Erik Almqvist wrote on Facebook.

Barred from TV screens, the AfS put the controversial ad online. Some Swedes said they were shocked by the “state censorship in Sweden.”

“Disgusted with TV4”, said one user.

“Withdraw the broadcasting rights from TV4”, another commentator urged.

Even those who do not support the party and don’t share its values see the move by TV4 as “a mockery of freedom of expression.”

There were also those who thanked the channel for halting the spread of what they call “a neo-Nazi campaign.”

“TV4 again saves the mankind, thanks @TV4,” one Twitter user wrote.

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Despite the polarizing opinions, there is one thing Swedish netizens got right – the ban did make the AfS the talk of the town.

“Good! More publicity for the AfS! More people are understanding why the party is needed in this ‘democratorship’ called Sweden,” one user tweeted.

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