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'A lie that Mikael Persbrandt is an accident at work'

Remember who they really are and what Expressen really stands for.


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STOCKHOLM (Rixstep) — The following article was published a quarter hour into the 'day before the day before the day' - an op-ed by the former chief information officer of the Royal Court of Sweden Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg. She'd seen enough of how Expressen persecuted people and ruined their lives for fun and profit. She'd seen herself over the years how Expressen fabricated cheap lies about the royal family. So the Lord Chamberlain of Crown Princess Victoria made an unusual appearance in the media. To call out Expressen and to condemn them.

Tarras-Wahlberg is commenting on the famous case of Persbrandt vs Expressen. Mikael Persbrandt is an eminently successful stage and film actor in Sweden. When Expressen found themselves losing ground to rival Aftonbladet in the New Millennium, they devised a plan - stalk celebrities to within an inch of their lives. And they picked Mikael Persbrandt at random as their first and primary victim.

This is no longer conjecture: the case has been settled in court where the magistrates unanimously condemned Expressen. Their editor in chief - predecessor to the current Thomas Mattsson who most regard as even worse - is lucky he personally got off with a fine. Most people felt he should have got the maximum penalty: one year in prison.

Here's Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg's own account of the encounters she and the royal family have had with Expressen, and all the misery Expressen deliberately caused so as to improve their web traffic. And the next time you hear or see or read about anyone from Expressen trying to lean on lofty ideals, remember what this woman said. The next time you hear of one of their reporters, be it Karin Olsson or Thomas Mattsson or Niklas Svensson, go off about Julian Assange or WikiLeaks: remember this article. Remember who they really are and what Expressen really stands for.

'A lie that Mikael Persbrandt is an accident at work'
By Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg. Published 2005-12-23 00:15.

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg attacks Expressen and their systematically sleazy journalism. The editor in chief of Expressen is now trying to claim their persecution of Mikael Persbrandt is a casualty in the workplace. But that's a bald faced lie. The tabloid Expressen uses sensationalism and scandal journalism to increase profits. With the birthday of Crown Princess Victoria in 2004, Expressen printed lie after lie for a whole week. Now in December their journalist Niklas Svensson claimed incorrectly that the boyfriends and girlfriends of the children of the royal family will spend the holidays in Drottningholm, writes the court's former chief information officer.

One can't but congratulate Mikael Persbrandt for his decision to keep his course and sue Expressen despite the public apology of their editor in chief Otto Sjöberg. If it had really been a casualty in the workplace from Expressen, as Sjöberg tries to claim, then it would possibly have been OK to give in, say thanks, and accept the apology.

But this is no accident. This is the rule rather than the exception: their trusting in their so called 'reliable sources'. Sources found only in the minds of their reporters and which may on occasion actually exist but which are obviously not reliable.

But they don't want to discuss that because they don't want their story to see the light of day.

How many times over the years, especially the past four or five years, have I not banged my forehead bloody with their argument 'but our sources claim'? So what? Am I not a source as well? And in addition a source who's closer to the horse's mouth? No, Expressen's so called 'reliable sources' are more reliable. And not just Expressen's either - I've heard the same argument, in all honesty, from journalists at other media companies as well.

But now it's Expressen's 'reliable source' who's gone off the deep end. And been so flagrantly wrong it can no longer be denied, not even by their editor in chief Otto Sjöberg. In connection with the birthday of Crown Princess Victoria in 2004, his tabloid published articles all week long with lie after lie after lie.

After being denied a retraction, as requested by the royal family, I worked on arranging a meeting with Sjöberg. He listened politely, took the articles with him, and promised to look into our complaints. He never got back to us, despite our repeated reminders. And he never returned our copies of the articles.

That the persecution of Mikael Persbrandt would be a 'one off' incident is a bald faced lie. Expressen has instituted sensationalism and scandal journalism for profit.


  Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg with her two daughters, attending the royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria which she helped organise.

But they've sold their souls at the same time, just as PO Enquist and Anders Ehnmark wrote in their cultural section 20 December. The suffering and pain of others goes 'ka-ching' in their cash register, and then standards of honour and ethical rules for the media have to stand back.

I asked Otto Sjöberg not too long ago how he'd feel if alleged events in his own private life turned into tapestries at the tobacconists and kiosks across the nation. And he admitted he'd have a problem with that - he admitted he couldn't stand the heat in the kitchen.

So how do you feel now, Otto Sjöberg? And what about the journalists who made up all those stories - how do they feel? The royal family and especially Crown Princess Victoria, prince Carl Philip, and princess Madeleine are continually victimised by mendacious reporting. Why does Niklas Svensson claim 14 December that the boyfriends and girlfriends of the king's children will be spending the holidays at Drottningholm? An article that results in further articles both at one's own publication and others who seemingly copy and publish without a moment's hesitation or thought.

The royal family will spend this holiday as they've always spent the holidays. Without boyfriends and girlfriends.

Have they neither heart nor soul, the reporters who make up outright fabrications? I wonder often about that. And I'm hardly alone. It's not only former colleagues in the information industry, but many laypersons who ask the same question.

Mikael Persbrandt: it's a good thing you keep at it and act against Expressen. You're doing a favour for a lot of people - people who for various reasons cannot or don't dare act. We must restrain this abuse of our freedom of speech. The bad reporters are ruining things for the journalists who are doing an important and valuable job in reporting about social issues that affect us all. The profession of journalism is threatened with being dragged through the mud all for the unjust behaviour of a few reporters working for that 'fine' paper Expressen.

For we all remember the manifesto of the previous editor in chief?

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg
Formerly Chief Information Officer of the Royal Court
Currently Lord Chamberlain of the Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Philip, and Princess Madeleine

One: 'A lie that Mikael Persbrandt is an accident at work' | Two: 'Journo Pigs Suffering from Mass Psychosis' | Three: 'Pig Farm Expressen'

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