German foreign ministry warns of fake news about Sweden

The German foreign ministry is warning of fake news being spread about Sweden, after a right-wing party claimed the ministry had warned people about travelling to Sweden.

A phrase used by the German foreign ministry has led the Berlin section of the populist party Alternativ für Deutchland (AfD) to claim that an official travel warning had been issued for Sweden. "Our quality press will not be reporting on it," the party wrote on Twitter.

But the phrase was in fact an old one, and had been issued in March last year, when Sweden actually lowered its threat level for international terrorism, from four to three on a five-grade scale.

A three on this scale means "elevated risk," which is basically the threat level Sweden has been on since the suicide attack in Stockholm in 2010, which only killed the attacker. Only for a few months following the Paris attacks at the end of 2015 has Sweden been on threat level four.

When the threat level was lowered, the German ministry noted that people travelling to Stockholm should still be careful in the capital and in the public transport system, and avoid big crowds of people.

But after the claim from AfD this weekend, the ministry has issued a new statement. Under the headline "Achtung Fake News" the ministry confirms that there is no official travel warning for Sweden.

"To be correct, the message should read: 'A year ago, the Foreign Ministry informed that the Swedish government has lowered the terrorist threat level.' We regret if that does not sound as interesting."

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