Free speech lawyer Percy Bratt and director Fredrik Gertten. Photo by Olof Lavesson.
BANANAS!* was screened in a fully booked meeting room in the Swedish parliament on October 1. The will to defend free speech was overwhelming from politicians from left to right.
After the screening, parliament members Mats Johansson (m) and Luciano Astudillo (s) launched a cross-party petition, collecting names in the Parliament. In the petition they are asking Dole to withdraw their lawsuit.
In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, Mats Johansson said (our translation):
"We hope that all parliament members will sign the petition. /…/ If Dole succeeds in this lawsuit, it may set a precedent, making it possible to ban films through court proceedings. /…/ Today, there are no laws that would support a Swedish company to act like Dole."
In an interview with Sydsvenskan, Luciano Astudillo said (our translation):
“We have repeatedly defended free speech when governments repress its citizens, but it’s equally important to react when companies try to restrict free speech through their financial muscles.”
The panel after the screening included Gertten, Astudillo, Johansson and Percy Bratt, a free speech lawyer and chairman of The Swedish Helsinki Committee. In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, Bratt said (our translation):
“This film provides a voice to people with no economic means in their criticism of a large company. In addition, the controversy around the film lies in the core of free speech, a sacred part of the Swedish constitution, something that all politicians, lawyers and journalists must support. It’s not just empty rhetoric on my part. We can not accept filmmakers to be silenced in this way.”
In an interview with SVT News, Fredrik Gertten said:
“The fact that the parliament is screening this film is an important symbolic gesture. We often take freedom of speech for granted, but obvious things must also be defined and formulated. The parliament members who took the initiative to this screening are doing just that, they are formulating why it is important to defend this movie. And I am incredibly happy about that.”
Media links about the screening (in Swedish):
"Dole försökte stoppa visningen av banandokumentären i riksdagen"
Andreas Henriksson, Makthavare.se, Oct 7
”Gertten får stöd från höger och vänster”
Hedvig Weibull, Sydsvenskan, Oct 2
"Dole gör en slags ekonomisk fatwa"
Anders Forsström, Dagens Nyheter, Oct 1
”Svenska företag kan inte göra som Dole”
Ann Persson, Dagens Nyheter, Oct 1
”Filmen BANANAS!* visas i Riksdagen”
TV4 News, Oct 1
”Därför visades BANANAS!* i riksdagen”
TV4 News, Oct 1
Interview with Fredrik Gertten
SVT News, Oct 1
Interview with Fredrik Gertten and Luciano Astudillo
Gomorron Sverige, SVT, Oct 1
SVT, Oct 1
"Konsten att skala yttrandefriheten"
Fredrik Robertsson, Helsingborgs Dagblad, Oct 2
”Höstens viktigaste film?”
Miranda Sigander, Expressen.se, Oct 2
"Gerttens film väckte en storm"
Jeanette Gentele, Svenska Dagbladet, Oct 5