SVT news ‘favours the left’: Moderate MPs

Two Moderate Riksdag members have proposed setting up a body to monitor news coverage by Sveriges Television (SVT) in order to correct what they see as a left-leaning bias at the state broadcaster.

The legislative proposal, presented by Jan R. Andersson and Peder Wachtmeister, has ruffled feathers among the top brass at SVT.

“Without a doubt, the proposal gives rise to thoughts about Berlusconi’s television policies,” SVT head Eva Hamilton told the Expressen newspaper, invoking the controversial media stance of Italian media mogul and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The two centre-right legislators argue that SVT violates objectivity requirements to the benefit of parties on the left.

“A majority of segments portray the red-green parties, and especially the Social Democrats, in a better light than the [centre-right] Alliance,” write Andersson and Wachtmeister.

In order to remedy the perceived bias, the pair propose establishing “an independent and apolitical commission which continually reviews SVT’s broadcasts in order to guarantee its political independence”.

Mats Knutson, a political commentator with the public broadcaster’s Rapport news programme, was also quick to condemn the proposal.

“These two Riksdag members clearly want SVT news broadcasts to be placed under some sort of political control. It would be totally devastating to the independence we have today. It sounds crazy,” he told the newspaper.

The head of the Moderate Party’s parliamentary group, Lars Lindblad, also distanced himself from the proposal, claiming it didn’t represent the party’s official stance on the issue.

“The set up we have now with an explicit broadcast licence and a review board fulfills the needs we have for impartiality,” he told Expressen.

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