The majority of people in Sweden believe the media is dishonest about problems in society associated with mass migration, according to research presented by the nation’s Institute of Media Studies.
The institute’s new book Mistrust of the Media, presented at a seminar on Monday, details that whilst confidence in the media is relatively high, Swedes are sceptical of reports on issues connected with immigration.
Fifty-four per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: “The Swedish media doesn’t tell the truth about social problems associated with immigration,” whilst only 27 per cent said they disagreed.
Confidence was also low with regards to the media’s handling of crime, and reporting on healthcare issues garnered the greatest amount of trust.
Politics play a part in regards to public confidence in the media, with the institute reporting that “almost all” respondents who vote for the populist Sweden Democrats (SD) party believe the media is not giving the full picture on migration.
By contrast, people who support Sweden’s ruling Red-Green coalition have the most trust in the nation’s media. Confidence is lower amongst supporters of the liberal conservative Moderate party.
Writing in Dagens Nyheter, the Institute of Media Studies director Lars Truedson argues “a serious discussion is needed about the attitude of journalists and the media on immigration reporting”.
Warning the profession’s credibility is in tatters on the issue, the veteran journalist urged writers and editors to give a more honest picture of how mass migration has affected Sweden.
Amongst concerns expressed by Truedson is that journalists are “excessive” in paying attention to press ethics guidelines not to emphasise a subject’s “ethnic origin, nationality, occupation, political affiliation, religious beliefs or sexual orientation” if it is irrelevant to a story.
The mainstream media in Sweden has been accused of habitual censorship: photographs of migrant criminal suspects are routinely pixelated, with even their skin tones changed, in order to hide the extent of migrant crime.