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Hiding & Accused
From Lars Schaff's 'Postcards from Sweden' for Thursday 31 January 2013.
The choice of words is a subtle and yet effective element in propaganda in our free media. So when the semi-official Swedish news agency TT (Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå) issues a news flash about Julian Assange it seems important to suggest which feelings Swedes should have for this man. TT's texts are often copied verbatim by most newspapers and broadcast media, among them this time Dagens Nyheter.
What's reported by TT today is, correctly, a tweet that Assange will run for a seat in the Australian Senate next election in September this year. Supposedly to 'explain' more about Assange, the news flash ends like this:
'Assange has been hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is accused of sex crimes.'
'Hiding'! A man holding speeches from the Embassy's balcony, covered by media all around the world! 'Accused'! To anybody's knowledge he is not officially accused of anything - he is absurdly suspected of 'sex crimes' against consenting women and wanted for interrogation by a prosecutor.
This is how Swedish journalists, cynically claiming to defend the free word, insidiously disparage a real fighter for freedom of expression. And this has become the mainstream media 'policy', as if Julian Assange's case above all must be regarded as a matter of national prestige.
It's a shame to be Swedish in these days, for this and for other reasons as well!
Lars Schaff holds degrees in civil engineering and economics and is a reserve officer in Sweden's coastal artillery.
Lars Schaff: Postcards from Sweden