Social Democrats ‘should become media players’

Sweden's opposition Social Democrats should become players on the media market again, party secretary Marita Ulvskog has said, proposing that a special group come up with concrete proposals for new media projects.

The party and its affiliated unions should get better at “taking up those questions that are important for wage-earners,” Ulvskog said.

“It would be made easier if we were an active player in some way or another on the media market…as for whether this means ownership [of media] or something else is something I can’t answer today,” she told TT.

Ulvskog wouldn’t say whether she was thinking about starting a newspaper operation, but said it was a shame that Social Democrat-owned publisher A-press went bankrupt in the early 1990s.

“I was very much opposed to us passing up the chance to keep important newspapers, even if they were quite small papers,” she said.

“I don’t thing we should hold back from exerting influence over areas in which power is concentrated, as it is in the media market,” she said.

The party’s media policy group will focus on “taking those chances that come our way and holding a discussion with others who are interested in us having a greater spread of ownership on the media market,” Ulvskog said.

Members of the media group include union movement LO’s Erland Olausson and the party’s treasurer Tommy Ohlström. Olausson is a member of the board of Aftonbladet, Sweden’s best-selling newspaper.

The Social Democrats and their allies in the union movement already have control over certain Swedish media. Aftonbladet is half-owned by LO, which controls the political direction of the newspaper. Norrländska Socialdemokraten, the largest paper in northern Sweden, is owned by a local branch of the Social Democratic Party.