Thursday, April 14, 2016

More than a third writer threatened – Aftonbladet

More than one third of Swedish writers living under threat or subject to violence and harassment. Behind this terror are mainly racists and the Sweden Democrats. It emerges in the survey Threatened culture? as the Agency for Cultural presenting today.

The survey, based on a survey of almost 3000 respondents shows that 35 percent of Swedish writers are intimidated and harassment. Artists suffer mainly of vandalism. Nearly four percent of the authors have been subjected to violence.

The motivation of the perpetrators are mostly their opposition to the content of the authors or artists’ work.

When over half of events with political motives stated perpetrators included in “some kind of right-wing or racist group,” the authority. In most cases, the perpetrators were considered to belong to a particular political party Sweden Democrats entered in 58 percent. “This can be compared with alternative left-wing group set out in four percent of the events,” the authority. Jihadist motives can be found under “connected to the religious group”, responsible for 15 percent of the events.

– This is a threat to freedom of expression in Sweden, it is about trying to quiet people, says Ola Luoto , President of the Swedish PEN.

– We do not care about the ideological excuses, the perpetrators are the enemies of the open society.

the major differences between the group of racist offenders and the other is confirmed by the victims of terror. The Agency says that there is “a consistent pattern – people with a foreign background are more vulnerable.” Above all, increasing threats when they exposed the non-European background.

Only five percent of the police reports made led to prosecution.

A full 80 percent of vulnerable cultural workers fail to notify the police crimes they suffer. The most common reason was that “they did not think the police would lead to something.”

– Here we have a lot of work to do, says the Writers’ Union Chairman Gunnar Ardelius.

– The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Justice must cooperate. We need greater knowledge of the judicial system. We want the current law is upheld and that the authorities revise law. We need stricter laws for certain crimes. Especially when done online.

The survey shows that threats has concrete effects. “14 percent of the vulnerable and worried say they have left (or decided not to take on) a specific task or subject area,” exemplifies authority.

Swedish PEN will act according to the survey.

– this is the PEN known for a long time and now we get it confirmed, says Ola Luoto. We now take up a project plan to respond to developments in our own country.

The Writers ‘Union want to cooperate more with artists’ organizations and improving the authors conditions:

– Authors often have an uncertain economic and social situation says Gunnar Ardelius.

– They need help to deal with the threats. We can provide information on legal matters and support them as well as put pressure on principals and organizers, to raise awareness and provide professional support.


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