Commission allows jokes about ‘king’s affairs’

Sweden's satirists can breathe easy: it's OK to joke about the king's alleged lovers on television.

The Broadcasting Commission has ruled that a feature in the TV4 programme Parlamentet, in which the participating comedians commented on rumours that the king had had affairs with three famous Swedish women, did not break privacy regulations.

Following the show, one of the women complained, arguing that having her name mentioned was a violation of her right to privacy.

But in its judgement the Broadcasting Commission stated that “public figures must tolerate the fact that they will be parodied on radio and television”.

The commission added that the particular feature could not have been taken as serious and did not therefore constitute a violation of the woman’s private life.

While gossip about royal lovers may be fair game, political bias is not.

The Broadcasting Commission found that the radio programme ‘Lantz i P3’ was guilty of bias when a contributor said that the web site produced fake ‘letters to the editor’ sponsored by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.

The presenter supported the views with his questions and comments, said the commission, and the feature broke rules preventing demonstrations of bias on the part of those representing public broadcasters.

In another decision, the Broadcasting Commission found the SVT programme Kontroll guilty of inappropriate promotion of Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 game console.

Louis Roper