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Christian Pavón: Why We Need Independent Media

publicerad 29 december 2023
Christian Pavón, eget verk

The Swedish channel Axess-TV recently aired an episode about independent media and the impact of the internet on the media landscape. No one in the “old” media sphere had foreseen that online newspapers actually would succeed, but it was acknowledged that many people did choose “alternative media” and still do.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that many people read independent media. What surprises me is how ignorant and clueless established media, or the “Dragons,” are about this.

For several decades, established media has been more interested in protecting the establishment than in actually producing genuine journalism. We can see how politicians are constantly shielded from criticism, and how established narratives such as the “importance of NATO” or the “importance of mass immigration” are almost always praised in the editorial pages and columns of established media.

We have been starved of quality journalism in the mainstream media. Sure, there are exceptions but when a narrative becomes especially important for the establishment, the Dragons almost always swing it in their favour, such as in the case of Russia and China. Both countries are categorically portrayed as evil, calculating, and primitive cultures.

When did independent media cease to exist?

Shouldn’t journalism always work for truth, so that people can see all perspectives and form their own opinions? Today, the media does not do that. Today, mass media is the establishment’s megaphone, not the conveyors of truth as it was intended to be.

The famous Swedish investigative journalist Janne Josefsson once said something very insightful about the debate on online hate. He accused Aftonbladet – Sweden’s biggest daily tabloid newspaper – of having an immense contempt for the people. At that time, it was mostly nationalist media that were independent and raised questions about the mass migration to Sweden.

For example, the site Avpixlat (De-pixeled) emerged because established media rarely pixelated the faces of Swedes accused of crimes, but always did so for immigrants. Avpixlat was founded by the Sweden Democrats in 2011.

Avpixlat served an important role at the time, but to be honest, it was a page of relatively low quality. This was in the infancy of the new online media. It served an important function and generated debate about the phenomenon.

Over the years, independent media got better and better with more and more skilled writers and more resources at their disposal.

Newborn online news channels in Sweden received government press support, with the latter causing Aftonbladet to become so incredibly upset that even Jan Guillou (a Swedish old-school journalist), came out and condemned it. When the same newspaper later participated in the Gothenburg Book Fair, it received enormous criticism: “How could the Book Fair allow these terrible Nazis to participate?”

Even though the online netzine Nya Tider (New Times) had never been Nazis, it didn’t matter; the smear campaign was underway. It was also around this time that the Dragons changed their tactics. They realized that independent media was on the rise, and their smears only fed the new media. So, how did they choose to change their strategy?

Independent Media and “Foreign Powers”

Well, they chose to claim that independent media is bought by foreign powers. Here at NewsVoice, this is an accusation we often receive when we try to cover perspectives from, for example, Russia and China that established media choose not to report on or report on very biasedly. Once again, contempt for the people comes into play.

Ordinary people cannot access anything that is not negative about Russia, China, or any other nation that the establishment despises at a given time. People might change their minds and not solely believe the stories that Swedish TV4, Aftonbladet, and the like convey. That’s unacceptable.

Recently, there was a very unpleasant report from the Swedish Defence Research Agency FOI where, among other things, NewsVoice was accused of being misleading. In that report, the issue was mainly about COVID-19, or more precisely, that we had examined the numerous serious side effects reported with this vaccine and that our writers had questioned the COVID-19 healthcare policy.

Reading the FOI report is like a carbon copy of what Aftonbladet has written about us. So misleadingly similar that you understand how closely these authorities and some media are aligned.

There are many reasons to choose to read independent media, but in my opinion, the most important thing we do is to expose the hidden yet openly existing organizations in the world that officially exist but never disclose the content of their meetings to the public. I’m talking about groups like the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission.

When associations of powerful politicians, media moguls, and financiers in the hundreds sit and discuss important societal issues, and established media doesn’t report on this, then we know that the situation with the old media is very dire.

As I see it, the main problem lies in the combination of significant monetary interests mixed with personal friendships with politicians, which together have contributed to the fact that the established media in the Western world today are more aligned with the powers that be than with the people.

Upcoming Press Support

Recently, a new legislative proposal in Sweden was passed that will start to be implemented in 2024. The law deals with the nature of government press support and who should be approved to receive it.

In § 6 point 1, the following criterion is mentioned:

“Media support may be provided to general news media that have editorial operations that do not substantially act against the principles of democratic governance or substantially conflict with respect for the equal value of all individuals and the personal freedom, dignity, and personal integrity of each individual.”

This point is alarming. On the surface, it sounds reasonable to advocate for the equal value of all individuals and to agree with democracy.

We do that at NewsVoice, and I believe most independent media do as well. However, the problem lies in the application and the slippery slope it invites. If the aim had been to be clear and counteract anti-democracy, the wording would have been:

“Media support shall not be granted to those who support criminal activity or incite any form of criminality.”

In that case, the wording would have been crystal clear. Now, instead, they use words that can be bent and twisted to fit the wishes of the current Swedish regime. It becomes extremely arbitrary. These new provisions will be used to make it much harder for independent media to operate.

Support Independent Media with Microdonations

I think many are now wondering, “What can I do?” The answer is quite a lot.

By donating money to independent media, whether it’s to NewsVoice or other media outlets, you can help keep the ship afloat. It doesn’t have to be much, but if 1 million Swedes donate just 10 USD per year to NewsVoice or any other independent media, all our problems with discontinued press support would disappear!

We would have a budget good enough to compete seriously with the Dragons. Yes, the Dragons have much larger budgets than we do, but we have something they don’t: truths and facts.

By Christian Pavón, staff writer at NewsVoice

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