Several Swedish media bodies have criticised the Press, Radio, and Television Authority (MPRT) for suggesting that only “responsible” media should be eligible for government monetary support.
The trade association of Newspaper Publishers said that it “strongly rejects” the proposal, saying that it was “inappropriate to have a government agency dedicated to labelling the media as responsible and not responsible”.
The Association of Journalists also expressed dissent, criticising the MPRT’s interpretation of what constituted “high-quality editorial content”. The association also said that the agency reviewing content and funding would violate media companies’ freedom of expression, SVT reported on Monday.
While the Publicists’ Club noted that the proposal could see the government interfere in a previously self-regulated system and said it was “very concerned” by the move.
“The fact that self-regulating activities are free from state and government is a linchpin of the entire design,” the association said.
Sweden to Spend Millions Bailing out Mainstream Media https://t.co/7nab3U5R4z
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 7, 2020
While Sweden has largely subsided the media for years, the government increased support for last year during the early months of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, announcing an additional 500 million kronor (£42.3 million/$58.7 million) in spending.
“News media play a crucial role in the functioning of society, not least during a crisis. Having journalism in place throughout the country is also vital for democracy,” the government said at the time.
The government had also granted extra cash to Swedish mainstream media companies before the Wuhan coronavirus. In 2017, it handed out 13.5 million kronor (£1.1 million/$1.6 million) to create a digital fact-check platform to combat the spread of so-called “fake news”.
The project was facilitated by the Swedish state fund for research and development Vinnova and saw participation from several outlets, including public broadcaster SVT, Sveriges Radio, the Bonnier publishing corporation, and Schibsted, which owns the newspapers Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet.
Reporters Without Borders: Swedish Journalism Under Threat, Could Become Propaganda https://t.co/qCr7N9yOjn
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 15, 2019