A group called People Reaching Out has published ads in the same four Lebanese newspapers that carried the Danish government’s much-discussed information campaign about asylum rules.
The new advertisements, which were first announced last month, were replicas of the originals, but with a message telling readers that many in Denmark disagree with the government’s official line.
In red ink, the words “Official statement from the Danish government” are written above the original text. Below the listed asylum policy changes is a red heart and the following message:
“A statement from people to people: Sorry for the hostility towards refugees expressed here. As ordinary Danes we wish to extend our sympathy and compassion to anyone feeling war and despair. #PeopleReachingOut.”
Speaking to public broadcaster DR, one of the people behind the new ads said that the Lebanese newspapers initially didn’t understand the intention of the new ads, but then quickly warmed to the idea.
“They said: ‘Now we can recognize Denmark again’. In one of the newspapers, we were also able to get a better placement [than the government’s original],” Frederik Preisler said.
Preisler said he was surprised by how many different Danes donated to the counter advertisements, which cost nearly $25,000.
The government's original ads are currently under investigation by the parliamentary ombudsman on the grounds that they were misleading.