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UK politician sticks to Malmö rape capital claim

Published onsdag 22 mars kl 16.37
Nigel Farage laughing and holding a British Union Jack flag.
Nigel Farage claimed Malmö was the rape capital of Europe. Credit: Jean-Francois Badias

Nigel Farage, a British right-wing populist politician, has refused to withdraw his claim that the Swedish city of Malmö is the "rape capital of Europe", despite the launch of an investigation by Britain's broadcasting standards authority.

Ofcom, which regulates TV and radio in the UK, announced on Monday that it will be investigating claims Farage made about Sweden during his show on London's LBC Radio in February. 

After the investigation was announced, Farage hit back saying that Malmö's rape capital status could be supported by facts.

"For the Swedish establishment," he wrote on Twitter. "It is more important to be politically correct than factually correct."

Farage, who led the right-wing, Eurosceptic UK Independence Party during last year's Brexit campaign, made the Malmö rape capital claims in defence of US President Donald Trump. Trump was widely ridiculed last month for citing an event that had happened "last night in Sweden" as proof of the country's problems with immigration, when no significant event had taken place.

In his radio broadcast, Farage claimed that immigration had indeed brought a sharp rise in crime.

"There has been a dramatic rise in sexual crime in Sweden, so much so that Malmö is now the rape capital of Europe and some would argue the rape capital of the world, and there is a Swedish media that just doesn't report it," he said.

Ofcom said on Monday that it will investigate whether Farage's comments were "materially misleading" after complaints from listeners.

If found to have misled listeners, Ofcom can impose sanctions such as requiring Farage to broadcast a correction. 

"My reference to Sweden being the rape capital of Europe can be backed up with statistical proofs from the UN and the European Agency for Fundamental Rights. Statisticians can also show that Malmö city in southern Sweden is the murder capital of Western Europe," Farage wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

The study that Farage refered to was a 2012 international rape rate comparison carried out by the UN. It showed Sweden to have the highest rate of rape in Europe and the second highest in the world. But statisticians say it is misleading to compare countries' rates because of differences in laws and the ways figures are collected.

According to The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), the number of reported sexual offences has been on the rise in Sweden, but that is in part due to changes in legislation broadening the definition of rape.

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