Schools agency issues comic book warning

Schools agency issues comic book warning
Sweden's Schools Inspectorate (Skolinpektionen) has warned that a campaign to distribute comic books featuring Donald Duck and Bamse the bear should be regarded only as complement to reading classes, pointing out that the backers are commercial companies.

“Donald Duck and Bamse are trademarks and Egmont is a commercial company that wants to recruit readers. If the school is aware of it and the material matches the school’s values, then it is okay to use – but only as a supplement,” said Jonas Nordström at the agency.

Egmont is the Copenhagen-based publisher behind the campaign to promote the cartoon characters in Swedish schools to boost reading among a generation which spends an increasing amount of time in front of electronic screens.

The publisher has joined forces with the Swedish Comics Association (Seriefrämjandet) to distribute the reading material heavily discounted or free of charge to schools.

Egmont has however denied that the school’s initiative has a commercial purpose.

“We’re not doing this to make money. We want to stimulate children’s love of reading,” said Jonas Lidheimer, Project Manager at Egmont Kids Media Nordic.

Children in Sweden spend almost two hours per day in front of electronic screens of one form or another, according to a survey from August 2013 commissioned by Egmont and conducted by Novus Opinion.

TT/The Local/pvs

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