A Free Press, Swedish Style

Sweden is proud that it guarantees freedom of the press. Every news outlet is free to publish anything it wants — provided that it agrees with the consensus of the government and the major political parties, if the minister of culture has her way.

Swedish media outlets depend on government subsidies for the survival of their operations. Without the help of taxpayers’ kroner, a newspaper would find it hard to survive, as attested by the recent experience of Dispatch International.

Up until now the government has guaranteed the impartiality of press subsidies. No matter the opinion expressed, the government would not curtail the funding of any newspaper. But what the government may grant, it may also withhold, and the temptation to manipulate content by withholding state subsidies is all but irresistible.

One suspects that this principle of government neutrality has been more honored in the breach than in the observance, even in Sweden. However, the real state of affairs has now been revealed — the iron fist is out of the velvet glove.

According to Fria Tider:

Swedish Government: Press subsidies must depend on attitude to immigration

Stockholm (Fria Tider). Swedish minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn-Liljeroth (Liberal) is critical of a Parliamentary committee and its decision to uphold the rules stating that press subsidies may not depend on newspapers’ political content. According to the responsible minister, a “democracy clause” should be included in the new legislation, barring “immigrant-critical” news outlets from receiving the statutory subsidies.

“One example is the debate that occurred while the pronounced immigrant-critical newspaper Nationell Idag received press subsidy” Adelsohn-Liljenroth writes in an article published on SVT Debatt.

She notes that it was against this background [that Nationell Idag was granted press subsidy] that she gave the Parliamentary Committee on Press Subsidies the directive to determine whether rules should call for “respect for the ideals of democracy” or otherwise ensure that subsidies are justified from a “democratic perspective”. The wordings denote the sharing of views on migration policy proposed by the Swedish government, most political parties and mainstream media. However, the ministerial directive to the committee resulted in an unwelcome conclusion. Mrs. Adelsohn-Liljeroth: “The Committee concluded that such a requirement could be seen as a way to hinder the printed word. I disagree with that assessment”.

Now the government threatens to introduce a political section in the subsidy rules nevertheless — even though all members of the relevant parliamentary committee oppose it. “I am now awaiting the respondents’ views on the proposal of the Press Subsidies Committee. I hope the responses provide a basis for imposing a democracy clause in the new press subsidy regulation,” Adelsohn-Liljeroth concludes.

Hat tip: LN.

9 thoughts on “A Free Press, Swedish Style

  1. “The Committee concluded that such a requirement could be seen as a way to hinder the printed word. I disagree with that assessment.”

    Alexandra Molotova, People’s Commissar for Information, Moscow 1931 on the report of a committee considering her Commissariat’s proposal to make salaries, housing, health care and food rations for Soviet journalists dependent on their not reporting the existence of famine, starvation, malnutrition or food shortages and reporting only positively on the forced collectivisation of agriculture.

  2. I mean it is appropriate to repeat my recent comment at VladTepesblog regarding the same issue.

    “The subsidy method in various areas of the society has been known by us Swedes for decades. The purpose is CONTROL. The strange thing is that the minister says it so clearly.

    It’s very simple. After some time, the market has adapted to the subsidies. You cannot run a newspaper – or a theatre for children – or anything else – without getting subsidies. No new players at the stage can survive. Players who say something “wrong” are killed by cutting their subsidies. The control is total.”

  3. Adelsohn-Liljeroth has no idea of the meaning of democracy. She is an absurd person.
    One would have thought that wiser minds in the Swedish Government would have enlightened her on the subject of democracy and freedom of speech…………hello, anyone there in the Swedish Government truly understand and support democracy, anyone at all …..?????

  4. The Orwellian “democracy clause.”

    None in the Parlimentary Committee support it, but heh, it’s democratic!

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  6. The fact that the taxpayer subsidises newspapers is proof that socialism is a mental disorder. If a newspapers cannot make a profit and keep going without handouts, it should go to the wall. One can safely conclude that their immigration policy is the work of lunatics. I just wish it wasn’t so cold there and all of the UK’s third world immigrants had turned up there instead of here.

  7. “”According to the responsible minister, a “democracy clause” should be included in the new legislation, barring “immigrant-critical” news outlets from receiving the statutory subsidies.””

    More evidence that the establishment is losing control; it has no choice but to erect barriers (literally and metaphorically) between itself and the people it purports to represent. Its equality-diversity paradigm no longer answers the questions being asked of it and thus quite understandably it seeks to avoid such questions.

    Reality marches on. You can see it on the horizon if you look carefully enough – many in the establishment can see it coming, hence the barriers.

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