Posts Tagged ‘Dagens Nyheter’

Dreadful Swedish interview of President causes upset in India

May 27, 2015

I have posted earlier about the dreadful interview conducted by the Editor-in Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski, with President Pranab Mukherjee in advance of the latter’s State visit to Sweden at the end of this week. It was not quite incompetent but it was pretty bad in that the interviewer’s own preconceptions, misconceptions and “political correctness” were all on display. Of course Pranab Mukherjee was quite inept as well and kept referring to the Swiss instead of to the Swedish. But the President did manage to resist all the words that Wolodarski tried to put into his mouth regarding the Bofors affair. And Wolodarski’s condescension to a Head of State is both embarrassing and contemptible.

The interview seems to have caused some upset in India and there is now a threat in the air to cancel/postpone the first ever State visit of an Indian Head of State to Sweden. The main stream media in Sweden – in spite of their quite pathetic and slavish following of political correctness – are usually quite competent but their ethical standards are not of the highest. Wolodarski’s interview was particularly cringe-worthy.

The Indian Ambassador writes to Wolodarski and accuses him of being unprofessional, unethical, condescending, misleading, patronising and flippant. Maybe Wolodarski did not lie, but if the Ambassador is correct, he was certainly shading the truth when he told the Ambassador that his readers were not interested in Bofors which then became his lead-in to his sensationalised story.

But my real quarrel with Wolodarski is that he was thoroughly unprofessional.

Indian Embassy letter

Of course the fault also lies with the Ambassador or whoever else organised the interview. They should have known better than to trust or rely on any journalist – especially since Swedish journalists have no concept of anything being “off the record”.

President of India has difficulty distinguishing between Swiss and Swedish

May 24, 2015

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India is visiting Sweden next week, the first ever State visit by an Indian Head of State. There have been two Prime Ministerial visits; Nehru in 1957 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1988. In preparation he was interviewed “in depth” by the Editor-in-Chief of Dagens Nyheter, Peter Wolodarski. The English version of the interview is here.

But there was very little depth to the interview – either in the questions or in Mukerjee’s parrotting of the “official line”. The interviewer was not incompetent precisely, but none of his questions were particularly insightful and some of his questions were considerably less than intelligent.

Imagine asking a serving Head of State what he thinks about another serving Head of State, “You’ve met President Putin several times. How would you describe him?” Would he have thought to ask the Swedish King what he though of Prince Charles, I wonder. Or the profundity on display in his question “Is the Chinese one-party system more effective (than Indian democracy)?” On Bofors, the interviewer tries to get Mukherjee to claim that it was all a “media scandal” but does not quite succeed. The interviewer is of course keen to display his own political correctness for his readers with What is the most important thing that can be done to strengthen the position of women in India?” The interviewer’s questions regarding why there is a higher rate of female foetuses being aborted in India (and I have written before about the 2,000 abortions of female foetuses every day), seem to suggest that he is asking how the rate of abortion of male foetuses can be increased, as if a higher total rate of abortion is probably a good thing. (Of course Sweden today has abortion on demand and abortion rates today are at the same level as infant mortality rates of 300 years ago). The interviewer dwells on the Nirbhaya, Delhi rape case and tries to get the President to admit to some institutional or ingrained social failing rather than that it was just an isolated and aberrant case. Mukerjee asserts that extreme poverty can be eliminated with 10 years of growth at 8-9%, which the interviewer takes leave to doubt.

Photograph: Lars Lindqvist via Dagens Nyheter

The interviewer’s questions actually reflect “political correctness” (the Swedish version) and his own preconceptions much more than eliciting anything insightful. Of course the readers of Dagens Nyheter will probably be very pleased to get the incredible revelation that Sweden has a population of 9 million to India’s 1.2 billion. I think he only insults the intelligence of his readers while displaying his own shortcomings in this dreadful interview.

Mukerjee’s answers reveal nothing new. He is old Congress. He was nondescript as a Defense Minister. He was a disastrous Finance Minister. He is President because of the Peter Principle and because the possibilities of his doing anything disastrous in that post are low. The only real substance comes in his final statement. “One thing I must correct”, he says. “Two, three times during the interview, I have used the word Swiss. I, of course, meant Swedish”.

Oh Well! And was it Switzerland or Sweden which won the Eurovision song contest last night?

Did one false report in Swedish newspaper cause the submarine fiasco?

October 28, 2014

I have posted earlier about the “Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago” hysteria which gripped the Swedish media and – apparently – the Swedish military for 6 days. (Though my perception is that the hysteria was with the media and the military and not with the general public. It did not cause much general alarm but it did provide another subject for after-dinner conversation and for wild speculation in the bars).The hunt is now over and there is plenty of egg on many faces. The Russian press and social media are having a field day with Swedish military alarmism.

But all of it may have originated from just one false article in the right-leaning Svenska Dagbladet. Of course it was compounded by further false sightings. This is a report from the left-leaning Dagens Nyheter (the nearest media competitor to the Svenska Dagbladet).

Dagens Nyheter: The operation carried out by the Swedish armed forces in the Stockholm archipelago was not triggered by one emergency call in Russian. So says Naval Intelligence to DN.

On Saturday, October 18th the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet revealed that an emergency call in Russian set off the alarm and started the hunt for a damaged Russian submarine in the Stockholm archipelago. The newspaper also said that there had been encrypted radio traffic between a transmitter in the archipelago and one transmitter located in Kaliningrad where large parts of the Russian Baltic Fleet is located. This news was reproduced by virtually all Swedish media, including DN. The disclosure also received international attention.

Already in last Friday’s paper newspaper DN revealed that no radio communications between the field of operation and Kaliningrad were intercepted during the six-day operation.

DN has now with the support of Freedom of Information rules obtained a copy of the transcript from the Armed Forces and has had the transcript translated.
Documents relating to military operations are usually completely or partly exempt under secrecy rules. When documents are denied the authorities are required to disclose an “Incident Report”.  Those denied documents can then appeal the decision. But no Russian emergency traffic ever occurred according to the military’s own investigation reported DN’s intelligence source. The documents just do not exist, according to the military.

“I thought it was exciting to read about the Russian emergency call you reported. But there is no such thing – the information is incorrect” says a source in Navy intelligence.

Has there been any radio traffic from Stockholm archipelago to and from Kaliningrad?

“There is traffic from Kaliningrad constantly, 24 hours a day. This is nothing strange. It’s just like any of our radio stations everywhere in Sweden – they transmit all the time” says DN’s source.

And if all the fuss was triggered by just one false report in the Svenska Dagbladet, it begs the question as to whether it was just bad journalism or whether there was another motive and a hidden agenda? And why did the Swedish military react so hysterically to just one bad media report?

Apartheid is still alive and well – in Sweden

March 25, 2013

The days of segregating bus passengers by skin colour and their appearance are not just something from the bad old days of the American South or from the days of apartheid in S. Africa. It would seem to be alive and well and practised in Sweden even today. For some it brings back memories of  Bosnia where those with the “wrong” names were selected to be put on the “death-buses”.

Sweden has a population of 9.55 million and around 19.6% or 1.858.000 inhabitants who have a foreign background, defined as being born abroad or being born in Sweden of two parents born abroad. Many sectors of industry and public services are totally dependent upon the “immigrants” as in the rest of Europe. The welfare states of Europe are more and more dependent upon the immigrants of working age who help support the ageing demographics. Overt discrimination in Sweden is probably much less than in many other parts of Europe but it would be quite wring to think that it is absent. The latent dislike of “others” will always be present under the surface but it is the political “respectability” provided by the new fascist or neo-Nazi parties which encourages this “latent” behaviour to openly manifest itself .

Another Kristallnacht somewhere in Europe within the next decade is not unthinkable. And if it happens it may well be in Greece or Germany or Austria but it could also happen further North.

Dagens Nyheter reports (my free translation):

The segregation of people having a different appearance which DN revealed on Saturday is not unique. When Viking Line buses would depart from Örebro, bus drivers  used name-lists to place the “immigrants” on one  bus and “Swedes” on another. “There was absolutely no way that this was random,” said Faruk Smailhodzic.

DN’s articles on how Eckerö Line buses, run by the People Travel Group owned by Veolia, on at least two occasions segregated passengers  according to their skin colour has aroused strong reactions. And now it turns out that Wednesday’s and Thursday’s events are not unique.

On two occasions in December Viking Line drivers had been provided with lists of passengers in order to divide them onto different buses. One list contained the names that appeared to be “Swedish” and other names that appeared to be “foreign”. ….

For one couple it brought back memories of Bosnia. Memories of how some people were selected  while others escaped. “We have experienced of when people are separated and put on a bus and it is not a good feeling. And there was always a feeling that maybe we were not going on any cruise, but maybe somewhere else”, says Faruk Smailhodzic.

Degradation of the elderly in Sweden’s privatised care system

November 11, 2011

The greatest fear I have of getting old is not so much the pain or suffering or sickness or debilitation but the degradation one may have to undergo.

I have always perceived the care of the elderly (and children) in Sweden as being perhaps the most compassionate and advanced in the world – especially the care from the public sector. The best care anywhere in the world is no doubt when it happens – and it does not always happen – within the family environment. In times past it was the care of the elderly within extended family groups, where up to 4 generations lived together, which probably provided the best care possible. But as family groups have become smaller, the wherewithal for the best geriatric care possible has shifted to institutions.

But recent events within the Swedish system where the public sector has been outsourcing geriatric care to private enterprise are not pretty.  In the chase for profit margins the level of degradation being meted out seems to have increased. The equation is no longer “the best care possible at the lowest allowable cost” and it seems instead to have become “not more than the cost absolutely necessary to avoid public complaints”. And in this new equation the level of degradation that the elderly are subjected to carries no weight. And the degradation is of relevance only if it leads to noisy complaints from others.

Something is not quite right and and it only reinforces my equating ageing with degradation.

The case of the private care company Carema has been the subject of a series of investigative articles by Dagens Nyheter and the latest episode of weighing diapers is not only degrading to the elderly patients but also, I think, for those being forced to implement Carema’s profit objectives:


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