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Investigation or attention-seeking?

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It would be comic if it wasn’t such a waste of public money: police have raided the TV4 newsroom on the orders of Sweden’s top corruption prosecutor, Christer van der Kwast, with the aim to get their hands on the 1,000 kronor bar bill for an evening TV4 reporter Anders Pihlblad spent in the company of Ulrica Schenstrm, PM Fredrik Reinfeldt’s right-hand woman.

Van der Kwast has said nothing about the raid yet, but he has previously said he was looking into whether Pihlblad could be guilty of bribery.

The Swedish Journalists’ Union has said that the raid threatens source confidentiality. They say that sources should be able to go to newsrooms without fearing that police officers will burst in while they are there. A fair point indeed.

But what should also be a matter of concern is that police and prosecutors are spending public money on attention-seeking raids over a journalist buying 500 kronor worth of drinks for a source who earned 84,000 kronor a month.

Was this really necessary given that the details of the tab have already been released to the press and when neither of the two people involved deny any of the essential details?

6 Responses to “Investigation or attention-seeking?”

  1. Igor Trisic Says:

    Yes I do believe it was necessary to do it. You have to bear in mind that newspapers articles are not admissible in the court of law, and that those evidences should have been recovered properly as they indeed have been. Even though they have not denied anything they haven’t been charged yet (or maybe they never will be). We should wait and see how they will respond to that(if it happens). Press freedoms have not been damaged. The police officers did not interfere with editorial process in any way. At the same time public officials should be kept in check, and they shouldn’t be allowed to get money other from their employer for doing their job. Your comment would imply that corruption is condonable as long it is done on small scale. I do not agree.

  2. HairySwede Says:

    agreed. but it does seem a little extreme and dramatic just for a bar tab.

  3. JS Says:

    I would not say that corruption is condonable as long as it is done on a small scale, but there are two questions here: first – could the prosecutor have received any evidence needed without raiding TV4, and was this a sensible use of public money?

    The answer to the first question is surely -yes. Neither party seems to be disputing the facts of the case – that they went out for drinks and he paid. TV4 say they have given the police the credit card receipt, claiming it is all they have. Which leaves the question – why was such dramatic and ethically questionable action by the police necessary?

    The answer to the second question is no. With almost every other crime, the scale of the crime does dictate the resources spent on it. Ever tried reporting the theft of 1,000 kronor to the police? Generally, they think these matters are too piffling to do anything about it. They have already accepted that resources should be proportionate to the scale of the crime. Except, it seems, when the prosecutor will get his face in the papers.

  4. Igor Trisic Says:

    We still disagree, but I think that it is pretty good that you as the editor used the blog to say what you think, and still kept News section objective, despite having strong opinion on the issue. I congratulate you on that James. Maybe you should start writing editorials again. They were pretty good…. Like, writing one weekly where you could reflect on News that happened.

  5. erick morton Says:

    Just another attempt divert attention away from the real problems of our society, mainly immigration, and it’s rampant effect of violence and law enforcements failure to address the situation with any clout. The main problem here in Sweden is a change in social structure resembling that of America! More dramatics on the part of govt. officials on the issues that don’t count like this one, and barely if any coverage of the real social issues effecting our country! Like corporate tax evasion, and social restructuring involving education, welfare, and health care, not to leave out employment of course!

  6. Clifford Decker Says:

    I agree with Eric Morton 100% The last thing that Sweden needs is to become anything like the United States. You have a real problem there with immigration that would make my Swedish grandmother roll over in her grave. Why that miserable situation is allowed to exist, or is tolerated by the Swedish people, is beyond believable. Our ancestral Halland does not seem polluted as yet, but Malmo is all but lost. What is really scary is no SNOW for Christmas in the south. Only Anja Parson winning has offset the misery. God bless her and the King.

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