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Journalism Award to a Lobbying Campaign?

From Corren.se 3 November 2011.

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DUCKPOND (Rixstep) — The Bonnier media empire gave themselves a big pat on the back tonight. They rewarded two of their 'journalists' for organising the notorious #prataomdet smear campaign against Julian Assange.

Hyped as a spontaneous grassroots movement, #prataomdet ('talk about it') was carefully planned long in advance with the help of an infamous PR agency under US control. The Flashback forum dug up the truth on #prataomdet back in January 2011.

Things started appearing on the Twitter feed of one of the 'journalists' on 14 December 2010. Johanna Koljonen weaved a tale of dangerous anal sex (that still turned out OK) and then tried to get people to think again about the Assange case.

The 'blitz' was scheduled for 20 December, a date was chosen because it was a Monday - a slow day for news in Sweden. Not a word to anyone outside the campaign - articles in dozens of news outlets were to appear all at once, none of them realising what was going on until it was too late.

Koljonen and her colleague Sofia Mirjamsdotter coached the volunteers, warned them to never mention the WikiLeaks founder by name, but to keep stories as close to him as possible. Stories were prepared in several lengths, all tailored to suit Swedish media needs. And so forth.

Further data is available below.

Journalism Award to a Lobbying Campaign?

Freelance journalists Johanna Koljonen and Sofia Mirjamsdotter were nominated this week for a journalism award for the Twitter campaign #prataomdet with the motivation: 'for making the private universal and for getting the whole world to talk about it'. (#Prataomdet was a Twitter topic where people could share their negative sexual experiences.)

The nomination shows the border between journalism and PR/lobbying being weaker than ever. As Johan Lundberg at the Axess Blog was able to demonstrate, #prataomdet was not spontaneous as Koljonen and Mirjamsdotter wanted people to believe. On the contrary: a group of feminist journalists used Twitter to plan a synchronised bombardment of the media and to work out how they could lobby their own editors for cooperation. They also sent out instructions to the prospective writers to 'keep things close to the Assange case'. The goal was to support the two women who'd supposedly been mobbed online after accusing Assange of sexual abuse.

As a lobby campaign #prataomdet was magnificent, and it had a huge impact on the media in Sweden. Sex always sells, and they made is 'SFW' by using a feminist message, something that turned the Swedish media onto a feeding frenzy, not at all like the evening tabloid sneaky pornographic reports on docusoap developments.

But it's not right to give a journalism award to a lobbying campaign. Perhaps they could get a pretty PR award instead. And all the media hounds who uncritically passed on the bogus story about #prataomdet can ask themselves if it's OK to be played the fool by professional lobbyists for the simple reason that the sources represent a kind of diffuse feminism.

For #prataomdet was very diffuse. That was the second thing wrong about it. Once things started rolling, the instigators didn't check up on things. The Twitter topic took the contour of the stories people wanted to tell. They were a motley mix with everything from aggravated rape to banalities, something that can result in real cases being trivialised when side by side with the likes of 'it didn't feel right and he should have understood even if I didn't say anything to him'.

And personal integrity goes out the window when people are openly encouraged to share their worst sexual experiences.

Above all, the feminist theme in #prataomdet was anything but rigorous. Once upon a time we feminists fought for women's sexual liberation, so that women could feel and express lust and enjoy sex the same way as men. But tweets in #prataomdet were somewhat distanced from this liberation - of course women should be allowed to do what they want sexually, but they can't be expected to show responsibility! The responsibility for the sexuality of both the man and the woman should be solely with the man - that was the message in many if not all of the #prataomdet tweets.

But a feminist who won't take responsibility for her own sexuality is not an adult but a child. To portray women as sexual children is neither feminist nor equalised. And that's something we should talk about.

So we put together a kamikaze group to dupe the media. Target date is 20 December - that's a Monday and a slow day for news, says Johanna Koljonen. Everybody talk to their editors and Johanna will help anyone who doesn't have an editor to talk to. And people will blog too. But not now. That's on 20 December too. Blitz.

She lays down strict guidelines for how the articles are to be written, how everyone's to make different versions of the same stories, and how they're never to mention Anna Ardin. Never. But they're supposed to draw parallels as close as possible to the Assange case. Without mentioning Julian either. But that's the target. Julian Assange.

And so the kamikaze warriors of Sweden's freaky 'cultural elite' were recruited: @edgrenalden, @isobelsverkstad, @philipteir, @nelsonsandra, @ivarpi, @juliaskott, @danielbjork, @elingrelsson, @lisamagnusson, @barsk, @linusfremin, @dekaminski, @oskcar, @johannka, @johanna_linder, @giselaj.

Twitter is a wonderful thing.

 - 'About the Condoms', Red Hat Diaries, 21 January 2011

See Also
Red Hat Diaries: About the Condoms
Industry Watch: It's All About the Condoms
Industry Watch: #PrataOmDet: The Smoking Gun

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