Media climate in Sweden

Is #Talkaboutit (#Prataomdet) a grassroots Twitter pheonomenon or an organised PR lobby against Assange?

#Prataomdet (#TalkAboutIt) was a campaign initiated by a group of journalists and PR consultants, friends and acquaintances of Social Democrat politician (and former complainant) AA. The campaign was sparked by Johanna Koljonen and Sofia Mirjamsdotter. Koljonen is also a friend of Kajsa Borgnas, Witness ’C’ (Swedish) in the Assange police file ([pp. 21-22). Koljonen initiated the campaign on Twitter, using the hashtag #tackanna (#ThankYouAnna) referring to complainant AA. The hashtag was switched to #talkaboutit (#prataomdet) although the content was geared to stick to ’Assange’s situation’. In a coordinated effort, the contributors planned to speak to their editors and succeeded in simultaneously pushing the campaign into the mainstream media on 20 December 2010. It polarised the debate and encouraged Assange’s trial by media. An example is the SVT ’Debatt’ programme (see below), and the Swedish broadsheet SvD’s article about the ’#talkaboutit’ campaign with a picture of Julian Assange’s release on bail in connection with his extradition case to Sweden.

The PR campaign linked Julian Assange to all the negative sexual experiences contributors shared in the campaign. Whatever the stated intentions, the effect was that of a black PR campaign. Organisers acknowledged that it had to do with Assange but showed a lack of concern for the ethical implications of starting a media campaign with Julian Assange at the centre. Sweden’s court system is operated by ’lay judges’, who are laypersons without legal training, appointed by political parties.

SvD’s article about #TalkAboutIt (#prataomdet) features a picture of Julian Assange walking out of the High Court, freed on bail.

SvD’s article linked Assange and #TalkAboutIt together, as did the SVT Debatt panel discussion on national TV, which discusses ’Is Julian Assange Innocent’ followed by the ’#TalkAboutIt’ campaign (see below).

Flashback forum opened a thread on 20 January 2011 dispelling the ’grassroots’ characterisation of the campaign, exposing the geneology of it via Twitter and screen shots - see [], here, here, and here; here, and here.

One of the people who helped launch the #talkaboutit campaign was Guardian blogger and polemicist Jessica Valenti. Valenti was promoting the campaign three days before it reached the Swedish mainstream media. In 2015, Valenti is the first person to have interviewed complainant ’SW’, in the context of the prosecutor’s handling of the case resulting in three-quarters of the allegations against Assange being dropped due to expiry.

Sweden: Hostile Media Reporting, Fabricated stories appear in the mainstream media in the run-up to the Supreme Court judgment

Fabricated stories broke ten days before Julian Assange’s Supreme Court judgment was expected to be delivered (22 February). The stories directly link Julian’s extradition hearing to an alleged ’plot’ to blackmail Sweden and harm Swedish interests. The timing indicates an attempt to create the worst possible media climate ahead of Julian Assange’s extradition to Sweden, had he been extradited in early March as was expected.

The articles were followed up by more fabricated stories claiming that WikiLeaks was tracking Swedish journalists, as well as damning reviews of Julian Assange’s unauthorised ’autobiography’ - which was published in Swedish under the title ’All memoirs are prostitution’, and which does not explicitly say that it is not authorised by Assange on the front cover (the English version does).

The reviews refer to passages about the Swedish case and the two women. Neither Assange nor his lawyers were allowed to read this chapter in the version that was printed.

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt weighs in

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, made several pronouncements on his blog, on Twitter, to Expressen, and to SvD: "Media Reports that WikiLeaks is planning a ’smear campaign’ against Sweden. Good to know." (50+ retweets).

In another tweet, Bildt says:

Anyone seen if WikiLeaks has dared to release the documents alleged part of their "smear campaign" against Sweden?

In Carl Bildt’s personal blog he quotes Expressen’s fabricated story: "WikiLeaks is planning a massive smear campaign against Sweden" and WikiLeaks is "threatening" to reveal information about him in the context of Julian’s extradition (to Sweden and to the US).

Incredibly, Bildt says in a filmed interview that "WikiLeaks has broken into a US company’s computer" (referring to the Stratfor release). It is deeply disturbing that the Foreign Minister of Sweden appears to be ignorant of the fact that WikiLeaks receives anonymously submitted information and publishes it. Bildt’s assertion is not corrected by the Expressen journalist. Bildt’s assumption that WikiLeaks is engaged in hacking rather than journalism is alarming. This should be of great concern to those who presume that Sweden will protect Assange in the context of WikiLeaks work.

How successful has the smear campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks been overall?

In the evening news (Aktuellt, 28 February 2012) Mike Winnerstig, spokesperson for the Swedish Ministry of Defence Research Institute, talked about Wikileaks. Winnerstig described WikiLeaks as having an anti-US and anti-US allies agenda, and that this agenda became clear with the Iraq War Logs. Winnerstig claimed WikiLeaks had never released information about Russia and China, as proof of its ’anti-US agenda’ (this is false, see WikiLeaks China and Russia).

Winnerstig went on to say that Julian Assange was engaged in blackmail, because ’Julian Assange himself has said that he would use this information’ if he was extradited in order to coerce Sweden and especially Carl Bildt. (Julian Assange has not said this.)

The tone of the articles based on the Expressen stories (see for example this article/English, here /English, and here/English); suggests that Expressen’s stories significantly undermined the WikiLeaks image in Sweden over a short period of time. The stories and Winnerstig’s attacks on both Assange and WikiLeaks appear to be designed to delegitimise the organisation. The latest media stories put Assange at great risk of onward extradition, since it undermined existing public support for WikiLeaks. The political cost of agreeing to an onward US extradition will greatly diminish if Swedish public opinion turns against WikiLeaks.

The latest stories originated in Expressen and have been taken as fact by much of the Swedish mainstream media (with the possible exception of Aftonbladet). They:

  • Conflate Assange and WikiLeaks.
  • Attempt to undermine the perceived legitimacy of the organisation by suggesting that WikiLeaks is ’anti-US’ and ’anti-US allies’.
  • Attempt to convince readers that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange intend to coerce the Swedish government and Carl Bildt, as well as harm the country’s interests.

Previously, the commentators in the mainstream media appeared to stop at slandering Assange. However, with the latest Expressen stories, WikiLeaks has become fair game.

The effect of the attempts to undermine WikiLeaks legitimacy through these fabricated stories is clearly observable in an interview on SVT, the Swedish equivalent of the BBC, with Emanuel Karlsten (a blogger and part of the #prataomdet campaign - see below) and the Defense Ministry’s Research Institute’s Mike Winnestig (29 February 2012):

Presenter 2: What do you make of this?

MW: I agree with Emanuel, it says a lot about the organization in my mind that it is desperately grasping for something to attack Sweden with. And it does not feel credible.

Presenter 1: According to the newspaper Expressen, which is where the information comes from, WikiLeaks has also said that if Sweden were to surrender Assange to the U.S., this is far-fetched, it will be stepping up its smear campaign against Sweden, and Carl Bildt most of all. What do you both think about a whistle-blower who acts in this way?

EK: It’s incredible. It’s just deplorable. From being an organization that had somehow identified what independence means, and had stretched out a hand over the world and said all of you whistleblowers, search us and contact us, we can take care of you and we will protect you, and we promise to be independent, to become such a propaganda organization for an individual.

Presenter 1: And if Sweden does not extradite Assange to the United States, would they then hold back this information?

EK: Yes, exactly.

MW: I agree with this also, I think one must keep in mind that independent or not, WikiLeaks has always had a political agenda. That is the way I see it anyway. But I’ve been divided to this kind of leaks because on the one hand, the fact is that it is obvious that you want to attack specific political actors, the United States, for example, right. But on the other hand, a few years ago these diplomatic reports that were released in large numbers were in many ways a good insight for many people, including for us who are in some way within the same line of work. It is democratic, it is not a bad thing. The only problem is that they have used as I said, this in a way that from the very beginning, that compromised WikiLeaks own independence.

Presenter 2: But has their credibility been weakened in your opinion?

MW: Yes, as Emanuel said, I think you see a pattern in all their actions, which is currently based on Assange not being extradited to Sweden, and if he is he should not be surrendered onwards. It says a lot about the organization.

WikiLeaks Response

WikiLeaks published a press release and offered to debate the Expressen editor Thomas Mattsson on SVT (Sweden’s equivalent to the BBC), but Mattsson refused, stating that he would only debate WikiLeaks if Assange went to Gothenburg (clearly an impossibility as Assange was under house arrest in the UK) and the UK authorities were holding his passport:

"If the head of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, travels to Gothenburg to debate journalism, I promise that I, as editor in chief of Expressen, will go to the SVT studio. Isn’t that reasonable?" (Available here.

WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson also published an article in SVT’s debate pages (published in English on the WikiLeaks website and did a long interview on Swedish Radio regarding the fabricated Expressen stories. The programme also interviewed Expressen’s Thomas Mattsson (in English).

The Guardian features Expressen Culture Editor in hit-piece: "From Zero to Hero"

An opinion piece called From Zero to Hero (3 November 2011) featured in The Guardian’s Comment Is Free section, which is moderated by the daughter of The Guardian Editor Alan Rusbridger. The article was sindicated to the Canberra Times under a less hostile title (-Assange’s view of Sweden cost fans). The article was commissioned by The Guardian according to the author, Karin Olsson, the culture editor of the Swedish tabloid Expressen. This is the Bonnier-owned tabloid that was tipped off and broke the story of Julian Assange’s arrest hours after the two complainants entered the police station. Olsson’s article is hostile and argues that Sweden’s view of Assange is basically uniform: "The Swedish view of Julian Assange, who lost his appeal against extradition to face sex allegations on Wednesday, has changed in a year from the James Bond of the internet to a paranoid chauvinist pig." Other quotes featured are:

  • "[Julian Assange’s] attempts to depict Sweden as a banana republic that would ship him on to the US is another sign of how desperate Assange has become."
  • "Sweden’s relatively high measure of sexual equality and consciousness in gender questions is a matter of national pride. That a dodgy hacker from Australia started knocking it was not popular."

The article also makes an interesting admission about the ’talk about it’ (prataomdet) campaign, a campaign that started online after the story of his arrest broke and quickly got wind in the media. The campaign was ostensibly about ’grey areas’ in sex - but according to Olsson herself, the campaign was deliberately against Julian Assange (the campaign organisers vehemently denied this):

  • "Last Tuesday two women journalists who started a Twitter campaign against Assange’s contemptuous remarks about Swedish women were nominated for the most prestigious prize in Swedish journalism." Olsson does not specify which "contemptuous remarks" she is referring to. The only remark which has often been cited about Sweden, feminism, and Saudi Arabia was reported on 27th December 2010 - the campaign started four months earlier (read more about talkaboutit (#prataomdet) below. It was started by, among others, two friends of complainant AA’s. One of them spent time with AA and her friend, a witness for the complainant in the investigation against Julian Assange, before the complaint.

Witness Ferrada Noli: Does Sweden inflict trial by media against Assange?

A late witness statement that was submitted to the District Court in the Feb 2011 Hearing was an analysis of media reporting of the investigation against Julian Assange. 804 articles had been published in the four main newspapers and tabloids between 20 August 2010 and mid-February 2011 (see table above).

Examples of hostile reporting:

If the text in the original becomes redacted, please contact us, and we will post the original:

* Aftonbladet ( reports on the day before the appeal hearing in the High Court (11 July 2011) "Julian Assange is suspected for raping two women. Tomorrow he will find himself in court - last night he was having a party all night long with the celebrity elite. It remains to be seen how bad his hangover will be" etc.

Journalism ethics aside, the information is false: the allegation of rape concerns only one of the two women. Reports of the party reveal that it took place on a Sunday afternoon, not ’all night long’.

* Expressen (13 February 2011) "What’s important for Mr. Assange is not what is leaked but the fact that there is a leak. Sperm contains just as much unknown information - DNA, chromosomes - as classified diplomatic cables or secret bank accounts. Mr Assange has dedicated his life to leaks. He is suspected of ripping condoms... The prosecutor has not realised what this is all about. Mr Assange is not after sexual gratification, this is just an inescapable episode in his severe compulsive need - to leak without any restrictions... [Assange] gladly sees to it that the two women that are suspected to be behind the complaints of sexual offences are smeared all over the world."

* Aftonbladet (24 April 2011, English) - Jan Guillou writes a column titled: "Assange is a little creep with no principles".

* Aftonbladet (13 February 2011) - columnist describes Julian Assange as "a paranoid idiot who refuses to come to Sweden to face trial".

The sample for Ferrada-Noli’s study of media reports of the Assange case consisted of articles published over one month in January-February 2011 (90 articles in total).

With the backdrop of the Duckpond Ferrada Noli has also analysed the exposure of views that did not fit with reporting in the mainstream - most of these were written in blogs, online forums (Flashback), or social media sites like Newsmill - writers are not paid for their contributions (Expert witness Brita Sundberg-Weitman, for example is a contributor, as well as Billy Butt and others). Flashback Forum has crowd sourced the analysis of the investigation and the prosecutor’s handling of the case in a thread from the moment the news broke of the arrest order for Assange. Many in the #TalkAboutIt campaign have been very critical of it, and Irmeli Krans, interrogating officer of SW and friend of AA, called for Thomas Bodström (partner in the law firm representing AA and SW against Assange, also former Minister of Justice) to fly back from the United States to ’shut Flashback down’ Evidence Destroyed. Olle Andersson’s article on Newsmill (English) about Flashback Forum explains its significance in shedding new light in the Assange case. Flashback’s thread has more than 36,000 entries on this case alone.

Ferrada-Noli also argues that a Swedish campaign launched through Twitter became an instant character assassination campaign against Julian Assange in social media circles. The #letstalkaboutit campaign started after the news broke of Assange’s arrest. It encouraged women to talk about ’grey zones’ in their sexual encounters. Julian Assange became the embodiment of all men who women had had bad experiences with, sometimes bordering on rape.

Ferrada Noli writes: "The analysis suggests a manifested (sic) hostility by the Swedish media against Assange and objectivity deficits in the news reports related to the case, raising questions about the journalists’ professional culture and ethics, their disregard for the critical and investigative function of journalism, and their passivity or condescendence (sic) towards press-information provided by authority. The results of the investigation raise also the question why Swedish journalists employed by traditional media act so uniformly."

Documentary on SVT (April 2011)

SVT (Swedish national television), the Swedish equivalent of the UK’s BBC, produced and aired Oskar Lindell and Marie Nordstrand’s documentary "Julian Assange: the world’s love affair" (7 April 2011). Lindell is connected to the #TalkAboutIt campaign. The documentary asks "How could WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange get the world to question Sweden’s credibility?"

Flashback Forum has analysed the errors of fact, contestable statements and omissions in the documentary. They include:

− Voiceover: "Soon after the accusation, [Julian Assange] left Sweden" (in fact, he left Sweden on 27 September 2010, five weeks after)

− Voiceover: "Julian Assange steals information from the powerful and gives it to the people"

− Images of the preparations of the Afghan War Diaries in the Guardian bunker in London are accompanied by the voiceover: "In London Assange meets a group of selected media for an exclusive collaboration for the [Afghan War Diaries]: SVT [Swedish National Television, which has produced the documentary ’Julian Assange: the World’s Love Affair’] is one of the chosen together with The Guardian, Der Spiegel, NYT and Le Monde. [This misrepresents SVT as a media partner in the Afghan War Diaries and incorrectly includes Le Monde.]

− Marie Nordstrand interviews Tariq Ali regarding his support for Assange. Ali talks about his impressions of Sweden’s underbelly after having read novels by Swedish authors (Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson) about Sweden’s dark side: "Don’t you think a woman should have the chance to say no?". "So a woman has only one chance to say no"? [Nordstrand is implying that there was lack of consent by the two complainants, which was never alleged in the complaint. On the contrary, AA’s statement to Expressen was that both she and SW had consensual sex with Julian Assange.]

− When the allegations are explained, the reversal of the decision to lay down the arrest order and terminate the investigation by Eva Finné, senior prosecutor, are not mentioned, nor the interrogating officer’s friendship with AA which led to a complaint for conflict of interest at the Office of the Ombudsman for Justice, nor AA’s deleted tweets, the fact that a broken condom was submitted 10 days after the alleged assault with no DNA traces on it, and so on.

− The documentary implies that Bradley Manning is in jail because WikiLeaks fails to protect its sources. Peter Sunde says that Julian Assange does not help Bradley Manning and does not mention him in interviews.

− Jan Guillou says in the documentary: "He will come back to Sweden kicking and screaming, he will be interrogated and then released, I guess, or maybe sentenced to a fine. But all the conspiracies, that the CIA has put pressure on the Swedish government to extradite him to the US... it’s ridiculous. It’s very discouraging to see these eminent social critics like John Pilger and Michael Moore describe Sweden as if it were some kind of medieval or religious dictatorship, these were impressive people who I gave credence to and they are ranting to the rest of the whole universe."

Read Brita Sundberg-Weitman’s comments on the documentary in her article "State-owned SVT’s documentary ’Julian Assange’ (only available in Swedish).

Swedish press standards in rape cases

Jan Guillou, a journalist, writer and social commentator, has been very critical of Swedish journalism ethics in the face of sex crimes allegations.

The wrongful conviction of Billy Butt is, together with the conviction of ’serial killer’ Thomas Quick and the da Costa murder case, one of the most infamous cases of miscarriage of justice in Sweden in recent decades.

In Butt’s case the tabloid Expressen (which ran the ’double rapist’ headline about Julian Assange) actively started a campaign for his conviction, calling for other ’victims’ to step forward. 24 women did, nine of those cases went to trial. Butt, a music producer, had promised to advance the women’s careers in exchange for sexual favours. When he failed to deliver, many of his ’victims’ felt cheated. Butt was sentenced to four years’ prison. He appealed the case and was acquitted on all counts.

The case also revealed the racist in the judgement: Butt is a visible minority. The judgement included, as part of the reasoning of his guilt, ’a peculiar physique’ - this is also the title of the book Butt wrote about his own case. Guillou’s take on the judgement of the lower court was that "the court considered it implausible that young women would freely choose to get in bed with a 40-year-old man with a ’peculiar physique’, a darkie so to speak. Therefore all women must have been raped."

Thérèse Juel’s book, Sexcrimes Convictions in Sweden, was a case study about ten men who succeeded in getting their trials reviewed and their convictions reversed. Guillou writes that the book was "doomed to slide into oblivion from the beginning":

"The problem has to do with politics and journalism [in Sweden]. When it comes to these types of miscarriages of justice, Sweden’s journalists are split in two camps. The minority, which I belong to, are more concerned that innocent people are behind bars than that some guilty people walk free. The majority are more concerned that not all suspects are convicted than that some innocent people go to jail. Today’s journalistic spirit will rather have reporting of reversed convictions that upset the general public than of miscarriages of justice.

(Contd.) "That’s why the ten men that feature in the book of freelance journalist Thérèse Juel were not only wrongfully convicted, they were also doomed to neglect. It’s a bleak picture, I know. It is also ’anti-democracy’. The free press should not stand on the side of the power of the state/the side of the prosecutor, but on the side of the individual when the power of the state commits assault. That’s an idea that was born in the French Revolution. The idea that now prevails that journalists should get people convicted comes from the Russian Revolution, and to a lesser degree from feminism."

’Show trial’ against Julian Assange on Prime Time Television - SVT Debatt, 22 December 2010

One of the creators of the #TalkAboutIt campaign, Isobel Hadley-Kamptz, wrote a critical letter to the national television channel SVT’s ’Debatt’ programme in which she participated- the video is no longer available, but pictures are available here.

Hadley-Kampz lamented SVT’s use of the #TalkAboutIt campaign as a pretext to start a debate on prime time television under the title "Is Assange innocent?" Whether or not the creators saw it that way, the Swedish media effectively conflated the campaign with allegations against Julian Assange. Hadley-Kampz wrote "SVT has failed the TV licence payers with its people’s tribunal against Assange" ("Med folktribunalen mot Assange har SVT svikit licensbetalarna"). As happens with many contentious issues that reach public debate - particularly about Julian Assange - this letter is no longer available on the SVT website or elsewhere (please contact us if you can access the original entry). The video of the debate is not available either.

Another participant in the debate, Ivar Arpi, describes the ’debate’ in a blog post:

"Belinda Olsson [the programme’s moderator] asked whether Assange was innocent or guilty and the participants were expected to play the role of spectators in the Colosseum, showing thumbs up or thumbs down. A popular tribunal, as Isobel Hadley-Kemptz aptly describes it."

A third participant, Anders Johansson, also describes his frustration at SVT’s hijacking of the broader issues in the campaign to make a popular tribunal against Julian Assange:

"Before yesterday I participated in SVT Debatt to discuss talk about it. That was at least what I thought when I accepted to take part in the programme. The pictures above colourfully illustrate the parody of the main discussion that was held: to create the conditions to have conversations about sex that is characterised with respect, not discomfort or insecurity. Instead the discussion was focused on Julian Assange’s possible guilt in the sex crimes allegations against him. Isobel Hadley-Kamptz already said it yesterday, but it should be repeated: it is utterly deplorable and also unworthy of a democratic society to, on prime time television, on a public television channel, speculate about a case that has not yet been put to trial... Assange should not be put on trial in a television tribunal, he should be put on trial. And before the judgement has been handed down, the media should close shop for speculations in this issue. Why? - Because it is the media’s role to show respect - both for the democratic legal process and for the individuals involved. Speculations on whether a person is guilty in a criminal investigation is not doing inquisitive journalism, it belongs to the nasty yellow press."

Analysis of Media Reporting: August 2010-February 2011

Factual, non-objectable reporting 44%
Non-objective reporting 56%
Erroneous information or disinformation 20%
Omission of relevant information 36%
Personality descriptions ad-hominem
Hostile, detrimental or aggressive terms 72%
Positive terms 28 %

Source: Witness statement at the Feb 2011 Hearing by Professor Ferrada-Noli.

"Manhunt for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange - suspected of rape in Sweden" - Expressen’s original headline 21 August 2010, hours before the rape investigation was dropped

-* News: Julian Assange is a witness to the UK Leveson Inquiry into media ethics. His submissions have been published on the inquiry’s website

The evidence submitted by Assange concerns complaints by Assange to the UK’s Press Complaints Commission. Most of the complaints concern misreporting that Assange has been ’charged’ with a crime. Complaints were made against The Observer, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Independent, the Evening Standard and the Sun. The PCC found that even though he had not been charged with a crime, it was perfectly acceptable for the UK press to print he was.

To a UK reader, the use of phrases such as "he has been charged" within the context of an extradition case clearly creates the imputation that formal charges have been laid, when they have not. - Julian Assange

The false reporting that Julian Assange has been ’charged’ with a crime has led to a complete misrepresentation of the proportionality issues of his extradition case in the UK. In Sweden this perception is also widespread, to such an extent that even the Swedish Prime Minister claimed that he had been charged while Julian Assange’s extradition case was underway at the magistrate’s Court in London, in February 2011.

See the media reaction in Sweden to the disclosure of Assange’s identity to the press by the prosecutor, in Controversies - Prosecution


11 March 2012: Former Minister for Justice Thomas Bodström (who is a partner in the law firm representing the 2 women) uses a blog about a London football derby to criticise British culture and the ’failure’ of the British courts in the Assange case. [English]

But what can one expect of a country that’s taken a year and a half to rule on a procedural judicial issue - namely in the case of Julian Assange, which is about whether a Swedish prosecutor has correctly filled in a European Arrest Warrant application?

6 March 2012: WikiLeaks Press release: WikiLeaks on Recent Fabricated Stories in the Swedish Press

[Expessen] tries to manipulate other Swedish journalists into Expressen’s defence by claiming that WikiLeaks is secretly gathering data on specific Swedish journalists, including taking pictures outside of their homes, investigating their finances and obtaining secret Swedish government documents on them. This is also absolutely false. If anyone is spying on these journalists, it is not WikiLeaks or anyone instructed by WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks recommends that these journalists report any suspicious behaviour to the police. - [WikiLeaks, 6 March 2012

5 March 2012: WikiLeaks Kristinn Hrafnsson: The Great WikiLeaks War on Sweden?

Expressen refuses to release any of its claimed evidence and its editor, Thomas Mattsson is apparently too scared to debate WikiLeaks on SVT as to the merits. WikiLeaks demands [Expressen Editor in Chief] Thomas Mattsson issue a full, front page retraction, or resign. - WikiLeaks, 6 March 2012

23 February 2012: Professor Marcello Ferrada-Noli’s analysis of the extraordinary story broken by Expressen on 22 February about WikiLeaks’ so-called ’internal memo’, detailing a ’smear campaign’ against foreign minister Carl Bildt and ’the Swedish government’. The story even led to Bildt responding through a tweet and a blog post.

22 February 2012: Expressen tabloid attacks Assange (analysis to appear shortly)

Other media follow the extraordinary allegations

Carl Bildt blogs about Expressen’s story.

14 February 2012: Assange is no Modern Day Robin Hood, English


29 December 2011: Press Ethics is out of Control (in the Assange Case) and English: Carin Stenström, Laholmstidning

1 December 2011: The "Duck Pond" Theses. Explaining Swedish journalism and the anti-Assange smear campaign Professor Marcello Ferrada Noli, witness at the Magistrate’s court.

29 November 2011: Further devious reports on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television Marcello Ferrada-Noli

24 November 2011: Covert anti-Assange #TalkAboutIt media campaign, which has polarised the public debate about the Assange case on Swedish media, has won Bonnier’s national journalism prize.

3 November 2011: editorial: Journalism prize for a lobby campaign? #TalkAboutIt should not have won the National Journalism Prize, it should have won a PR Prize (in Swedish)

Surprises in London and English: Thomas Bodström, Bodströmsamhället, 11 March 2012

Press Ethics is out of Control and English: Carin Stenström, Laholmstidning, 29 December 2011

Translation of Twitter traffic for the launch of #prataomdet Rixstep, 20 January 2011

- Rixstep - Comments by Flashback and Marcello Ferrada de Noli on what really went wrong in Sweden

Further devious reports on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television Marcello Ferrada-Noli, 29 November 2011

Rigged documentary on Julian Assange in the Swedish National Television Marcello Ferrada-Noli, 14 April 2011

- Smears and Misconceptions about WikiLeaks Spread by the Media (31 December 2010)

- Rixstep - Insight into Guardian smear

- Karin Olsson (The Guardian/Expressen) Julian Assange: From Hero to Zero

- Guy Rundle, Grey areas reshape the Assange debate - Crikey

- CCWLJA - Expressen’s double standards

- Brita Sundberg Weitman: "State-owned network SVT’s Documentary ’Julian Assange’ (Statliga SVT:s dokumentär ’Julian Assagne’ [sic])"

- Flashback Forum’s thread - Swedish mass media versus Wikileaks/Assange (in Swedish)

- Professor Marcello Ferrada Noli - Interview 09 August 2011

- Professor Marcello Ferrada Noli - Does Sweden inflict trial by media against Assange?

- Julie Bindel - The real-life Swedish murder that inspired Stieg Larsson

- Professor Marcello Ferrada Noli - Witness statement

- Olle Andersson, Flashback Stops Witch Trial of Assange (in the original Swedish; in English).

- Olle Andersson, Assange/WikiLeaks: The Betrayal of Sweden’s Cultural Elite (in the original Swedish, in English).

- Olle Andersson, ’Try Me for Rape Too, Marianne Ny!’ (in the original Swedish, in English).

- Olle Andersson, ’WikiLeaks and the Gutless Swedish Media’ (in the original Swedish, in English).

Related Articles



Lay Judges

Gender Politics

2808 days under house arrest.

Our Twitter Feed

Read more on twitter...

Click to share this post on Twitter Share this on Facebook