SVT slammed by its own journalists

Some 43 journalists from Sweden's public TV broadcaster SVT criticized the company's leadership in an editorial published on Monday. They say the broadcaster is “underestimating the public and being too greedy.”

In the editorial, published by Dagens Nyheter on Monday, the 43 SVT journalists said the company’s management, led by CEO Christina Jutterström, is allowing viewer statistics to guide the public-service channels in the same way the figures affect commercial channels.

“SVT’s management is undermining the basis for its existence” was the name of the article. It said viewing figures was the method by which decisions makers came to the conclusion to cut back on news and cultural programs and supplant them with talk shows and drama programs created to pull in the much sought after 20-44-year-old viewers.

“The problem is that the management underestimates the public and believes that the only thing they want is easy-going entertainment,” said Claes JB Löfgren, a reporter who contributed to the editorial, according to Svenska Dagbladet. “You are going for too much and trying to be both broad and narrow, which results in the identity crisis we just now see.”

SVT’s board will be choosing a new chief in November and later this fall an investigation of the channel’s news organization that could lead to changes, reported Svenska Dagbladet.

“A lot is happening right now with many important strategic decisions,” Löfgren said. “I wish the new management would root its decisions among others in the organization. Today, we lack that communication.”

In July, SVT said it was cutting its news budget in favor of more drama programs aimed at a younger viewing audience. SVT said was planning on cutting 70 million kronor from the news and society programs in order to fund more popular drama programs.

SVT was unavailable for comment on Monday morning.