The attacks belong to the party’s DNA

This is a cultural article which is part of Then24’s opinion journalism.

The Sweden Democrats' chief of staff Linus Bylund is interviewed by SVT during the vigil.
The Sweden Democrats’ chief of staff Linus Bylund is interviewed by SVT during the vigil.

As a part of the new government, SD will make sure to create its own SVT, SR and UR. Not by a single bombastic attack, but step by step – the tyranny of small steps; cuts, increased reviews of the programs, swedishization of the program range, fines and punishments for those who make mistakes.

It cannot be ruled out that this includes eventually replacing parts of the program companies’ boards in order to then be able to get rid of the managers who do not fit into the new guidelines.

This is not a made-up horror scenario.

Read inside and listen to what the party’s leading politicians say publicly! See how SD wore down the resistance to restricted immigration by acting persistently and consistently! Step by step, year after year.

For decades have SD attacked public service. The attacks have deepened and in parts escalated into hate-filled aggressiveness as part of the criticism against the media in general and journalists in particular. Those who are often labeled “enemies of the people” by SD, according to the same pattern as Donald Trump demonized journalists.

The wave of attacks which, in the new political situation, is now being directed at public services will have consequences.

As recently as March this year, there was a media policy debate in the Riksdag. The SD repeated its entire list of demands. As Sweden’s second largest party and with a key position in “Ulf Kristerssons law” has Jimmie Åkesson & co real opportunities to get through what the party calls “reform” and “modernization” of the public service. The list of requirements in brief:

• Merge SVT, SR and UR.

• Cut the public service tax.

• Slim down the program range – narrower and sharper.

• More Swedish programs.

• Protect the Swedish language and culture. Avoid profanity.

• Expand the review of the program offering with so-called scientific advice.

• The review board must bring in researchers for issues of impartiality and objectivity.

• Abolish recruitment targets such as gender and ethnic representation.

• Add a new investigation for total review of public service.

SD’s attack on public service belongs to the party’s DNA. The entire cultural and media policy is a core political area. The wave of attacks which, in the new political situation, is now being directed at public services will have consequences. The guidelines for a new broadcast permit will soon be formulated by the new government.

And in it the resistance is weak. The moderates have here, as in other issues, stood in solidarity with the SD. M has even gone further and, for example, demanded the closure of UR. In its media policy report from June 2021, the Moderates propose that the state should appoint special auditors to continuously review the activities of the broadcasting companies. M wants to investigate the possibility of introducing fines when programs are rejected by the Review Board. Some requirements have been toned down. But at the same time, parts of the moderates want to shut down public service. Read the youth association MUF and the party’s heavy Stockholm district.

The battery of concrete However, SD signed actions are only one attack wave. The second is about acting through the Management Foundation, the top body the state as owner has created, and whose main task, ironically enough, is to protect the independence of SVT, SR, and UR. No active parliamentary politicians may sit on the foundation’s board.

So far it sounds good. But at the same time, it is the government that, following proposals from the parties, appoints the foundation’s members. SD has appointed its chief of staff Linus Bylund. The political connection is a straight pipe.

None of this is directly undemocratic. Each individual proposal may not look so dangerous.

The management foundation has power by appointing the boards of SVT, SR and UR. It is then the company boards that appoint the CEOs of the program companies. Linus Bylund has recently said that he intends to raise the question of how SR’s board handled the criticism directed at the CEO Cilla Benkö after DN’s review of the security work at SR. In an interview from 2020, Bylund said that journalists who are biased should be able to be punished.

– I want to see more personalized reprisal opportunities for the Review Board, said Bylund.

The members of the Review Board are also appointed by the government. Another straight pipe for political power to influence all the way to program operations.

The independence of public services is fragile.

Is there anyone who believes that everything will remain as it was? Does anyone think that Jimmie Åkesson, Linus Bylund, Björn Söder or someone else in SD’s management will not act to appoint new board members in the public service companies? That they will not use their power of appointment to place the right people on the Review Board? That you don’t go all the way and make sure to replace the occasional unpleasant manager?

All this lies in the direction of danger. SD acts persistently and consistently. First wave of cuts, mergers and new reviews of program offerings. Second attack wave appointments and firings.

It’s easy to get caught up in the tough outings, most recently Björn Söder’s tweeting that “public service should ban me fundamentally reformed” after Willy Silberstein i Currently expressed concern and fear of SD’s position of power. In another tweet from 2020, Söder commented on the presidential election in the United States with the words “now I hope that all the wretched journalists get a big fat finger in the face when Trump takes home the victory.”

We remember that at the end of the 2018 election campaign, Jimmie Åkesson called P3 a “shit channel” with the addition that “if I were the boss, I would shut down this channel.”

I am also appalled by this Trumpist use of words, this verbal brutality. But I’m actually more concerned that in the outrage we forget that Jimmie Åkesson frequently talks about the importance of public service to keep our Swedish culture together. He talks seductively about SVT’s “inclusive function”. Åkesson pays tribute Sing-along at Skansen. Linus Bylund pursues the same thesis that “cohesive Sweden needs a campfire in the form of public service.”

So – with SD’s sharpened program selection, Swedish culture, well-kept language and no profanity. Governed and controlled through new boards, new review board, new rules for objectivity and impartiality. Fines and other penalties. Shorter broadcasting license, not today’s eight years. Today’s tax, which gives the program companies 8.5 billion, can be reduced with simple parliamentary decisions. Anytime. Nota bene, shorter broadcast licenses and the constant risk of cut funding are effective government control instruments.

None of everything this is downright undemocratic. Each individual proposal may not look so dangerous. The people have given SD the power, and everyone has their free right to discuss and criticize public service. But SD’s many small steps are moving in a definite direction that risks leading to a free, independent and strong public service eroding into what the right previously contemptuously called SVT – state television.

If the new SD-certified public service becomes the obedient media company of the new government, perhaps Ulf Kristersson’s team likes that particular state television. The question is about the liberals Johan Pehrson also do it. L has previously guarded the independence of the public service. But maybe Pehrson keeps quiet if he is allowed to become education minister?

Source: Then24

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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