The Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation participated in the Gothenburg Book Fair, manning a stand at the so called International Square. In addition, the foundation arranged three popular seminars. All of the activities put focus on freedom of speech at the Internet and was a part of the Foundation campaign “Internet Freedom”!
Targeting students, the Foundation organized a seminar at the smaller stage of the International Square. Hanif Bali, MP from the Moderate Party and Juras Stankevic, Belarusian opposition politician, discussed the frequently reoccurring abuses and human rights violations committed by authoritarian regimes at the web. Juras bore witness of the situation in Belarus whereas Hanif discussed how Sweden could assist through technology in helping dissident bloggers in dictatorships to spread inconvenient truths. Magnus Nilsson, Moderate local politician, chaired the discussion.
At the second seminar, which was held at the larger stage of the International Square, the panel was further expanded with one of the Moderate Party connected bloggers with the most readers who have made internet a key issue. She emphasized the need for Sweden and the EU to take the lead in the struggle for a free internet by acting as a role model.
At the third day of the Book Fair, Mary X Jensen and Johan Norberg, liberal author, continued to discuss the same topics. The discussion mainly focused on how internet and social media has pushed the political climate in Sweden towards an increased transparency. If the same would apply to countries such as Iran and China, it will become increasingly difficult for the regimes to control their citizens. Contact made online with likeminded – both domestically and internationally is one of democracy’s most efficient weapons in non free countries. Marie Söderqvist chaired the discussions.
The Foundation books were available for purchase at the Foundation stand. Teachers and students could also get hold of a study material based on articles that has been published on the hjalmarsonfoundation.se/freedom in the previous year. During the four days of the fair, several curious visitors found their way to the stand to discuss the free internet campaign and learn more of the work of the Foundation.