Reinfeldt’s wife takes post on newspaper board

Filipa Reinfeldt, a Moderate Party politician and wife of Sweden’s Prime Minister, has been named to the board of a minority owner in one of the country’s major daily newspapers.

Soon Reinfeldt will take up a position on the board of a foundation which has a partial ownership stake in Svenska Dagbladet, giving her indirect influence on the newspaper’s choice of editor-in-chief.

“But it doesn’t allow for some sort of undue influence. In part we have complete confidence in Filippa’s independence, and in part our importance for the newspapers operations is very limited,” said SvD foundation board chair Johan Gernandt to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

The foundation, known as Stiftelsen Svenska Dagbladet, had a much larger ownership stake in SvD until the Norwegian publishing group Schibsted purchased roughly 60 percent of the newspaper nearly a decade ago.

But the foundation remains influential through its approximately minority ownership, and by maintaining two permanent slots on the company’s board, which has the responsibility over recruiting SvD’s editor-in-chief and political editor.

Nevertheless, Gernandt was quick to point out that the foundation’s influence pales in comparison to that of SvD’s primary owner and that the chances of the foundation getting involved in the paper’s editorial decisions was basically nonexistent.

Lars Nord, a media and communications professor at Mid University Sweden, didn’t see the appointment as overly troubling, but admitted that left him somewhat puzzled.

“In Sweden we have a long tradition of party-oriented press, do this really isn’t so remarkable,” he told DN.

“But ‘Svenskan’, like most players in the media, want to present themselves as independent. Therefore it’s a little strange when the prime minister’s wife gets this type of assignment.”