An anti-Semitism watchdog in Sweden accused a far-right lawmaker of spreading racist stereotypes of Jews while speaking out against “control of media by any family or ethnic group.”
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Anna Hagwall, a lawmaker for the Sweden Democrats party in the Riksdag, Sweden’s national legislative body, submitted a motion on September 30 that proposes to condition state subsidies of media in Sweden on the plurality of entities that own the publications.
In a statement to the Aftonbladet daily, she named specifically the Bonnier Group — a privately held Swedish media group of dozens companies operating in 15 countries that was started and is still controlled by the Bonnier family, which has Jewish roots.
Opposing state funding for local publications owned by the group, Hagwall wrote in the email: “Let the small Bonnier newspapers in the provinces go under. No family, ethnic group or company should be allowed to control more than 5 percent of the media” market.
Her statement triggered rebuke within her own party and by the Swedish Committee Against Antisemitism.
“The anti-Semitic myths fueled by a member of the Swedish Parliament are frightening,” the committee’s chairperson, Svante Weyler, wrote in a statement published Thursday.
By “implying that an ethnic group controls the media, Hagwall indulged in anti-Semitic propaganda on the notion that Jews control the media,” Weyler added. “This type of attack against Bonnier has a long tradition that continues to this day, not least in right-wing propaganda.”
Mattias Karlsson, a leader of the Sweden Democrats, said in a statement Thursday that Hagwall’s actions “have damaged our confidence in her” and “will have consequences for her future activities in the party and its parliamentary work.”