Turkey tried to silence the press in Sweden

Turkey tried to silence the press in Sweden
Turkey tried to pressure a Swedish television channel not to broadcast a documentary about the Armenian genocide.

The Turkish embassy has in an email to TV4 tried to stop a documentary, writes Aftonposten.

They asked to "reconsider the decision" to broadcast the documentary "Seyfo 1915 - The Assyrian Genocide."

- This trend threatens our open society, says Viveka Hansson from TV4.

Seyfo is the Assyrian name of the slaughter of Armenians and minorities that occurred during the First World War. And that's what the documentary portrays.

In an email to the channel, Arif Gulen, the press officer at the Turkish embassy, writes that he respects freedom of expression but that they should not broadcast the documentary.

"First of all, I respect freedom of speech in fully, and your channel has full freedom to broadcast. I will not judge the film's content before I have seen it, but I want to give you some information about the events of 1915," he writes in the email to TV4's program director Viveka Hansson.

The attempt comes just days after the Green Party tried to negotiate with SVT to silence the criticism of the party.

- Unfortunately, I was not overly surprised, as trying to pressure the media has generally increased. It was, for example, just a few days ago that the Green Party tried to make a bargain with SVT to skip the criticism of the outgoing Minister, Mehmet Kaplan, she says.

- This is serious. This trend threatens our open society. Therefore it is important to highlight it when it occurs.

But TV4, despite the email, is determined to broadcast the documentary.

- Here we reason like all responsible publisher would have done. We do not let embassies, politicians or other groups control our content, Viveka Hansson says.

Reporters Without Borders, states in its press freedom index of 2016, that pressure and attacks on freedom of the press have intensified. In the passed year, ideological groups, governments and private interests have tried to silence free speech more often.

And Merkel is partly to blame - again.

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