Why are threats and hate a problem for democracy?
1:11 Spela upp filmen
Why are threats and hate a problem for democracy?

A film with Irena Pozar, journalist, Ulf Mellström, researcher, Bianca Kronlöf, actor and comedian, Aida Badeli, politically elected representative and Patrik Lundberg, author and journalist, about why threats and hate are a problem for democracy.

Irena Pozar, journalist, says: Threats and hatred become a threat to democracy in my field very clearly. If journalists don’t dare to write about certain issues, we have a major problem for democracy.

Ulf Mellström, researcher, says: A growing number of researchers say that they think twice before saying anything because they know that they can be met by reprisals and threats. That is a problem for democracy.

Bianca Kronlöf, actor and comedian, says: If I get scared and if I fall silent, then we no longer have a democracy. It’s clear that the threats and the hatred are a direct threat to democracy.

Aida Badeli, politically elected representative, says: We need more people to get involved politically. But the hatred can stop people from engaging or even dare to participate. In the long run, it’s a problem for democracy.

Patrik Lundberg, author and journalist, says: These haters are dangerous and there are many of them. But the people who believe in democracy and the freedom of speech are so many more.

About the freedom of speech

The freedom of speech is fundamental in a democratic society. In Sweden, the freedom of speech is protected by a fundamental law. Thanks to the freedom of speech, you can express your views and hear the views of others, influence society, shape opinion and participate in the democratic discourse.

Right to have differing views

The freedom of speech also means that no one has the right to go unchallenged. The right to have differing views, to disagree, to express criticism and to call into question is a part of a democracy. A democratic society must be open to different voices and give everyone an opportunity to express themselves. Democracy is dependent on people participating and getting involved in social issues.

Even if we have the freedom of speech in Sweden, it does not mean that everyone has the right to say, express and spread anything. Subjecting anyone to threats and hatred can be criminal.


I encounter the most threats and hate when I write about gender equality, racism and equal rights.

Patrik Lundberg, author and journalist

What areas can incite threats and hatred?

It may be difficult to know what areas people will react to with threats and hatred. Many people who express their views on issues of equality, feminism, gender and racism have been subjected to threats and hatred.

Victimisation may also be linked, for example, to a person’s gender, gender identity, skin colour, sexual orientation or age. For example, when women and LGBTQI individuals are the targets of threats and hatred it is often related to gender, power and sexuality.

The threats I get often have elements of sexual violence, which my male colleagues do not receive.

Irena Pozar, journalist

Consequences of threats and hate

When threats and hate affect people who participate in the social debate, it is not only a threat to the victimised individual. It is also a threat to our democracy. Threats and hatred can affect individuals and certain groups of people in such a way that they choose not to express their opinion on specific issues. If different perspectives and views are not given a place in the public discourse, it threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms.