Radio host axed for likening Serbs to Breivik

A well-known Swedish radio personality who called Serbians “stupid” and compared them to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, has been suspended from work indefinitely.

Radio host axed for likening Serbs to Breivik
File photo (2001): Mats Andersson/Scanpix

In mid-April listeners who tuned in to the show “Gerts Värld” (“Gert’s World”) could hear the host, Gert Fylking, say that Serbians were just like the mass murderer Breivik, currently on trial in Oslo.

“He is a controversial person, but this is probably the most serious thing he has done on radio,” said Christer Modig, CEO at MTG Radio to Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

After saying that “the world is full of these Breivik characters”, Fylking continued along the same lines.

“We’ve managed to catch many others as well. We caught these Serbians who acted like bloody swine and killed hundreds of thousands of fleeing people. We caught them. But do you think they are judged by the Serbians? No, the Serbians hail them as heroes. So who are the psychopaths? Is it the majority of the Serbian population that are stupid or is it just these people who are convicted of war crimes that are idiots?,“ the host said, according to DN.

The paper reports that the show elicited strong reactions that have continued to spread to the Serbian media. The internet newspaper describes how Fylking called the Serbian people “Breiviks”, “psychopaths” and “stupid”.

Serbia's ambassador to Stockholm, Dušan Crnogorčević, wrote a letter to the station to register his displeasure with Fylking's outburst.

“These are very serious allegations and completely untrue. As an individual I feel singled out but also as a representative for the Republic of Serbia,” the ambassador told DN.

“There are over 100,000 Serbs who live and work in Sweden and they feel singled out, horrified and angry that someone can categorize a whole population in this way,” he continued.

Fylking retracted his hasty words two days after the show had aired, but as the reactions continued to keep flooding in, the station nevertheless decided to suspend him indefinitely.

According to MTG's Modig, it is the host’s job to prompt reactions and get people to phone in to discuss controversial topics.

“But he phrased it clumsily, lumping everyone together and comparing a war to a crazed lunatic. That was unprepared and rash,” he said to DN.

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Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland

Norway, which has suspended the use of AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine until further notice, will send 216,000 doses to Sweden and Iceland at their request, the Norwegian health ministry said Thursday.

Norway to send 200,000 AstraZeneca doses to Sweden and Iceland
Empty vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“I’m happy that the vaccines we have in stock can be put to use even if the AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused in Norway,” Health Minister Bent Høie said in a statement.

The 216,000 doses, which are currently stored in Norwegian fridges, have to be used before their expiry dates in June and July.

Sweden will receive 200,000 shots and Iceland 16,000 under the expectation they will return the favour at some point. 

“If we do resume the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we will get the doses back as soon as we ask,” Høie said.

Like neighbouring Denmark, Norway suspended the use of the AstraZeneca jab on March 11 in order to examine rare but potentially severe side effects, including blood clots.

Among the 134,000 AstraZeneca shots administered in Norway before the suspension, five cases of severe thrombosis, including three fatal ones, had been registered among relatively young people in otherwise good health. One other person died of a brain haemorrhage.

On April 15, Norway’s government ignored a recommendation from the Institute of Public Health to drop the AstraZeneca jab for good, saying it wanted more time to decide.

READ MORE: Norway delays final decision on withdrawal of AstraZeneca vaccine 

The government has therefore set up a committee of Norwegian and international experts tasked with studying all of the risks linked to the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which is also suspected of causing blood clots.

Both are both based on adenovirus vector technology. Denmark is the only European country to have dropped the AstraZeneca
vaccine from its vaccination campaign, and said on Tuesday it would “lend” 55,000 doses to the neighbouring German state of Schleswig-Holstein.