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Reflections from a Swede in Norway.

Here you will find my small graffiti board where I write about things I come to think about.

In my blog, I write about the general unfairness of life, about spam mail, vintage computers, board games, Norwegians, current and not-so-current affairs, technology and whatever else occurs to me — in other words, a glorious mess. All opinion expressed here are of course my own, and all similarities with any living people is of course intentional.

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Journalists find truths where none exists

Published: Friday 2005-03-25.

Journalists seem to be people that can take information, twist and turn it, call what comes out facts claim anything using it. The last few days it has been claimed that Telia, the telco formerly wholly-owned by the Swedish government, is making billions of kronor on pornography. If one read beyond the headline and starts to think about what it is they are actually writing, one sees that the reasoning contains several flaws.

What they are saying is that Telia supposedly makes billions of the pornography because their Internet users pay per minute when surfing pornographic pages on the Internet. Telia themselves are not offering the pornographical pages, this is general pages that you can reach no matter what Internet service provider you are using, but I assume that it wouldn’t make as big headlines if they would attack the providers in general, or one of the smaller ones. Claiming that it is Telia that is behind this pornography is like claiming that the Post office is making money from pornography just because there are such magazines being distributed by post to the subscribers. While this is true after a fashion, it is also completely irrelevant. (Or maybe it is the paper mills that are the instruments of evil? Let us prohibit this demoralising black art!)

Yesterday Marita Ulvskog, party secretary for the social democrats said: The government should of course not be able to be the majority owner of a company that does not take drastic measures to get rid of the pornography on the net. In other words she thinks that the government-owned company should censor fully legal, but possibly morally reprehensible, parts of the Internet. The other parties are not late to follow suit in their comments, and while this might sound good and may attract a few voters, it still seems like no-one has actually read up on the subject and taken the time to actually figure out what this is actually all about.

It is interesting to follow what the journalists are able to fool people and politicians that are unable to follow all the technicalities into believing. This kind of sensationalism journalism is something I had expected from less scrupulous tabloid newspapers, not from the flag-ship news program on public service television. But I guess it isn’t for nothing they call media the fourth estate.

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