Charity line changed during live TV broadcast

A number for Swedes to donate money during a charity TV event broadcast in December was mysteriously changed while the programme was on air.

Musikhjälpen (‘Music Aid’) was broadcast for six days from December 14-20. The round-the-clock charity event, produced by Sweden’s public broadcaster SVT, encouraged viewers to send text messages to request a song, with the proceeds going to charitable causes across the world.

At 2am on the last day of filming, the SMS number shown on screen was changed from 72999 to 72599 for a duration of 21 minutes.

After reviewing a recording of the show, SVT project leader Pär Nordahl told newspaper Aftonbladet he was shocked. He confirmed the number was changed but denies sabotage at this stage.

“I am completely convinced this was not done maliciously,” he said.

SVT are now conducting an investigation into the incident and speaking to producers involved in the show.

According to Aftonbladet, the number was the same that was recently investigated and shut down when it was used in a bluff email offering prizes including a trip to the Caribbean.

Exactly how much money was lost in the incident is not yet known. ”Around that time of night we had around five text messages every minute,” Nordahl added.

All donations sent to the wrong number will now be retrieved and the money will added to the final amount raised by the event.

Musikhjälpen is a collaboration between SVT, Sveriges Radio and Radiohjälpen, a charity division of Swedish public broadcasting. The event raised around 5.7 million kronor.

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