The Swedish Free Press Society, TryckfrihetssÃ¤llskapet, was launched on January 31, 2012. The Swedish press is known for notoriously hiding facts and consequences concerning Islam, immigration and Muslim criminals (example: Swedish specialty: Pink pixellation of dark-skinned criminals and pixellated anonymization of wanted criminals).
People who want to meet to talk about such topics need severe police protection (Sweden: Launching the Swedish Free Press Society under police protection).
I have interviewed Lars Hedegaard, initiator and chairman of both the Free Press Society in Denmark and the International Free Press Society, and Ingrid Carlqvist, initiator of the new Swedish branch.
Lars Hedegaard, please introduce The Free Press Society to our readers. How do you start a thing like that, what impact did it have in society and did it spread to other countries as well?
Hedegaard: In 2003-2004 it became evident that free speech was seriously threatened in Denmark and that we had no organised force to resist this encroachment on our liberties. Islam and its acolytes were riding high. The official press, the political class, academia, the experts, our courts and the clerics of our Lutheran Church kept hammering the people with the message that islam is an enrichment of our society and that anyone that thought otherwise was a fascist and racist and ought to be prevented from expressing his opinions. Anyone who dared to stand up for the freedom of expression guaranteed in our constitution was vilified. Their careers were ruined. Many were convicted in our courts, fired from their jobs or driven to despair.
Public opinion — which is not what the public think but what one may express in public without fear of dire consequences — went underground. We were approaching a dual discourse: A surface discourse extolling the virtues of multiculturalism and cultural relativism and a real discourse taking place among women and men when the thought police wasn’t listening.
Much to my surprise I was approached by two supposedly far-right members of parliament. They were well aware that I had a past on the extreme left but asked if I would be the front man of a new organisation to defend free speech. I thought hard about it and eventually agreed to step up to the plate. It turned out that many others shared our worries and were willing to join.
That’s how we got started in Denmark back in 2004.
Ingrid Carlqvist and Hedegaard, how is suppression of free speech possible in democratic countries with a free press? Please also give some specific examples from Sweden.
Carlqvist: Sadly, the answer is that the Swedish journalists have totally misunderstood their own role. Let me quote my namesake Knut Carlqvist, an author and journalist that died 2010. He once said: “Swedish journalists have never realized that their duty is to keep an eye on the state and the power. They believe their duty is to monitor the people.”
I have worked at many different newspapers and I know that there is consensus regarding how to report about all things concerning the huge immigration to Sweden, where we the last 30 years or so, have seen hundreds of thousands coming from countries that are essentially different from Sweden. The journalists all agree to write nice articles about ramadan, muslim festivities and mosques but to never write anything negative about immigration or immigrants. That has lead to the remarkable situation that people can see that there are huge problems with analfabetic immigrants from countries like Somalia and Afghanistan, but the newspapers pretend everything is fine.
A flagrant example is the enormous number of rapes. Last year 6 509 rapes were reported to the police in Sweden — the corresponding figure in Denmark was 392. The population in Denmark is a bit more than half of Sweden’s, so if everything was normal in Sweden we would have 650 rapes, not 6 500.
But the media is quiet. Nobody digs into these figures to try to find out what’s causing it. Is it the fact that Sweden changed the law so that rape is now a lot of things, not only penetration? Or is it a huge number of false allegations? Or is it something to do with the mass immigration to Sweden, especially from the MENA-countries? Nobody knows, because nobody investigates.
I had just signed a contract on writing columns for the local newspaper Barometern and they were really pleased with my first column (about a father fighting the authorities for taking his daughters from him). After someone phoned the paper saying I was a racist and an islamophobe, they fired me. The paper told me they couldn’t publish someone who is openly critical of Swedish immigration policies.
Hedegaard: Our political classes and academic and media elites are scared. They know in their hearts that they have been promulgating a lie in the shape of a crazy vision of a multicultural utopia intended to keep them in power but which is now failing spectacularly. They can no longer solve the problems they themselves have created — mass immigration, parallel societies, sharia zones, exploding crime and a general erosion of everything the West used to stand for.
But they can at least try to prevent people from openly discussing this state of affairs. They do that with a vengeance and with the tender aid of the public prosecutor and the courts and their fellow travellers in academia and the surface media.
It won’t help them in the long run. For a while they have managed to install terror in civil society to the extent that people have been scared to tell even their neighbours and spouses what they really think. They have been successful in hounding people out of their jobs and much more. Yet they have failed in eradicating people’s conscience and that is what will matter over the long haul.
Ingrid Carlqvist, in January 2012 Sweden got its own Free Press Society, TryckfrihetssÃ¤llskapet. How has it been received in Sweden? How did your first public meeting go? What did the Swedish press write about you?
Carlqvist: First of all, the Swedish press didn’t want to write about us at all. But when they saw on the internet that more than 100 people were coming to the first meeting, they decided to come. So far we had one news article and two culture articles. All are negative. They try to portray us as racists and islamophobes. But the success is huge. Many people have e-mailed saying they want to become members of the Free Press Society and donate to the cause.
It seems that The FPS is mainly concerned about Islam and Muslim immigration. What does that have to do with free speech, and are you actually Islam critics in sheep’s clothing?
Carlqvist: I think we must all realize that islam is one of the greatest threats to free speech in the world today. In Sweden we have the artist Lars Vilks who has to live with bodyguards round the clock because he drew a picture of Mohammed as a dog. We have a long tradition of free speech in Sweden, but now everybody”s scared. Not one fellow artist has drawn his own picture of Mohammed as a dog, to help Vilks. Everyone is silent and there have been several attempts to kill Lars Vilks – from muslims in Sweden.
Hedegaard: Of course we have concentrated most of our energy on opposing an ideology — islam — whose spokesmen have made no bones about their intention to do away with our freedom and install a totalitarian and barbarian theocracy the like of which we haven’t seen in this part of the world for as long as we can look back. If we hadn’t done that, people would have no reason take us seriously.
We are well aware that there are several other threats to free speech that deserve our attention and we try to address them to the best of our ability.
This year’s freedom prize, which we have been awarding every year since we got started, will go to one of the courageous fighters for democracy in Russia. I won’t tell you who we have in mind but I can promise you that it will be a spectacular event and one that we hope will give the Kremlin pause for thought.
Talking about free speech and the threat of Islam. Do you think that the Quran should be banned in our countries?
Carlqvist: No, of course not! Free speech means that nothing is forbidden or banned, it is with words and good arguments we will vanquish bad ideas.
Hedegaard: I agree with Ingrid. We will never advocate the banning of books however bad and pernicious. Bad books should be met with good ones and bad thoughts with good thoughts — openly, in the light of day. That’s the Western way.
Ingrid Carlqvist, do you see a growing openness in Sweden concerning breaking taboos? What wishes and future plans do you have for the Swedish FPS?
Carlqvist: Well, I hope that FPS will open up the debate in Sweden, but I”m not at all sure. We have a long tradition of silence and a great belief in authorities in our country, so I think we will have to be patient. But I do believe that many people are frustrated with the situation and ready to start questioning what is going on.
How can private persons help to protect and support free speech?
Carlqvist: By becoming members of the Free Press Society, of course!
Hedegaard: Yes, and please try to muster the courage to talk to your friends, neighbours, colleagues and family about what you really think. Defend those whose lives are being ruined by our merciless elites. If you cannot do so openly, you can do it in private. Let the persecuted know that you are a friend. Give them hope. Many a dictatorship has been brought down in this way.