In the news: How often do crime stories make headlines in Sweden?

Law and order, fatal shootings and crime dominate news reports in traditional Swedish media as well as social media, according to a new survey. Let's take a closer look.

In the news: How often do crime stories make headlines in Sweden?
Swedish journalists at a police press conference in Malmö after a shooting in August. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The topic of law and order received 43 percent of radio coverage between August and September 2019, and 35 percent of television coverage, according to Mediemätaren, a study by pollsters Kantar Sifo on behalf of public radio news broadcaster Sveriges Radio Ekot.

It was followed by reports on the economy, to which both dedicated just above 20 percent of their coverage. These reports were almost entirely about Sweden's national autumn budget proposal.

As for television coverage, this was followed by migration/integration (19 percent), foreign policy (18 percent), taxes (16 percent), environment (13 percent), education (13 percent), opinion polls (12 percent), the political game and government question (10 percent) and health care (10 percent).

Looking at radio coverage, the following topics rounded up the top-ten list: foreign policy (22 percent), environment (16 percent), migration/integration (16 percent), education (14 percent), health care (11 percent), EU/EMU (11 percent), taxes (10 percent), employment/labour market (10 percent).

And one in six lead stories in newspapers, television and radio was about crime and policing, according to Sveriges Radio Ekot, a rise from five to 17 percent compared to the previous survey in April-July, as the fatal shootings of two women in western Stockholm and Malmö put the media spotlight on gang crime.

Law and order, and migration and integration, were the most talked-about subjects in social media, representing around 30 percent of Twitter posts and 40 percent of Facebook posts in the survey.

Despite the attention given to the global climate strike sparked by Swedish campaigner Greta Thunberg, coverage of environmental issues did not increase much, according to the survey.

The survey looked at the following broadcasts and newspapers: SR Ekot 4.45pm, SVT Rapport 7.30pm, Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Göteborgs-Posten, Expressen and TV4.

Read the full survey (in Swedish) here.


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Swedish Green leader: ‘Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity’

The riots that rocked Swedish cities over the Easter holidays were nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, but instead come down to class, the joint leader of Sweden's Green Party has told The Local in an interview.

Swedish Green leader: 'Easter riots nothing to do with religion or ethnicity'

Ahead of a visit to the school in Rosengård that was damaged in the rioting, Märta Stenevi said that neither the Danish extremist Rasmus Paludan, who provoked the riots by burning copies of the Koran, nor those who rioted, injuring 104 policemen, were ultimately motivated by religion. 

“His demonstration had nothing to do with religion or with Islam. It has everything to do with being a right extremist and trying to to raise a lot of conflict between groups in Sweden,” she said of Paludan’s protests. 

“On the other side, the police have now stated that there were a lot of connections to organised crime and gangs, who see this as an opportunity to raise hell within their communities.”

Riots broke out in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Stockholm, Norrköping, Linköping and Landskrona over the Easter holidays as a result of Paludan’s tour of the cities, which saw him burn multiple copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam. 


More than 100 police officers were injured in the riots, sparking debates about hate-crime legislation and about law and order. 

According to Stenevi, the real cause of the disorder is the way inequality has increased in Sweden in recent decades. 

“If you have big chasms between the rich people and poor people in a country, you will also have a social upheaval and social disturbance. This is well-documented all across the world,” she says. 
“What we have done for the past three decades in Sweden is to create a wider and wider gap between those who have a lot and those who have nothing.” 

The worst way of reacting to the riots, she argues, is that of Sweden’s right-wing parties. 
“You cannot do it by punishment, by adding to the sense of outsider status, you have to start working on actually including people, and that happens through old-fashioned things such as education, and a proper minimum income, to lift people out of their poverty, not to keep them there.”

This, she says, is “ridiculous”, when the long-term solution lies in doing what Sweden did to end extreme inequality at the start of the 20th century, when it created the socialist folkhem, or “people’s home”. 

“It’s easy to forget that 100 to 150 years ago, Sweden was a developing country, with a huge class of poor people with no education whatsoever. And we did this huge lift of a whole nation. And we can do this again,” she says. “But it needs resources, it needs political will.”