Every year, the Swedish National Center for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT), a government agency, releases a report assessing threats from extremist groups of various kinds. What is new this year is that right-wing parties and alternative media outlets have been labeled as terrorist threats nearly on the same level as radical Muslim groups.
The NCT was able to make these additions after it broadened the definition of right-wing extremism, which, according to the government, now also includes a number of media outlets and the populist Sweden Democrats, a party well-known for its opposition to mass immigration.
As Samnytt reports, for several years now, there has been an increased risk of a terrorist threat in Sweden. The assessment has been mainly pointing out the growing threat of radical Islam linked to the government’s open immigration policy. In the shadow of that threat, the government also fears that violent autonomous left-wing and right-wing extremist groups will be capable of committing terrorist acts as well.
In this year’s report, radical Islam is still highlighted as the most dangerous and threatening ideology. At the same time, the NCT raises the right-wing extremism threat to almost the same level as the Islamist one, and it also states that it believes that the threat from that direction may increase this year.
In its latest outlook, Säpo, which is part of NCT, expands the definition of “threatening right-wing extremism” to also include groups and people not in favor of violence. Despite their focus on peace, these groups have still been listed as potential terrorist threats.
The revised approach to right-wing extremism also defines NCT’s recent annual report and is something that the red-green government takes further note of when it listed alternative media and the Sweden Democrats as part of the threat.
Minister of the Interior Mikael Damberg (Swedish Social Democratic Party) pointed out that this is something that “must be taken very seriously”. He believes that Sweden Democrats have abandoned its “zero tolerance” towards the alleged White power movement despite the party explicitly stating it does not accept any White supremacist ideology.
In regards to the government’s decision to label certain “alternative media outlets” a terrorist threat, the government may be targeting them due to the fact that while they often have limited resources due to corporate advertising boycotts and censorship on social media, they have nonetheless proven influential. SD party leader Jimmie Åkesson recently stated that his party has gained much of its success thanks to alternative media despite conservatives increasingly being threatened or silenced online.
The government now agrees that Sweden Democrats, alternative media, those critical of immigration and Islam, and other concerned citizens on social media should be included in the right-wing extremist threat picture.
Left-wing governments have increasingly taken undemocratic measures to silence opposition parties. For example, in Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was temporarily placed under surveillance by a domestic intelligence agency, resulting in the government being able to monitor emails and phone calls of every single member of the party in the run-up to elections.