Some of the members of the MUF youth party who helped push the vote. Photo: Oliver Rykatkin/MUF
At the annual meeting of the Moderate Party's Stockholm Country division, members overwhelmingly voted to in future campaign to close down Swedish state TV broadcaster SVT, the radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio, and the country's education channel.
“The Moderate party in the Stockholm region has agreed that public service should not exist any more, that in the long term it should vanish,” Oliver Rykatkin, deputy vice chairman of the Moderate party's local youth wing, told The Local.
“We want to have as free a media as possible, and we can't have free media if the media is paid for by the government itself. Then it risks becoming a propaganda machine for the government.”
At the meeting in Nacka Strand outside Stockholm, 109 members voted for the motion and 77 against.
Rykatkin said that MUF had been pushing the policy “for a very long time, at least 10 years”, and that this was the first time it had managed to make it official Moderate Party policy.
He said he hoped Stockholm County would now take the proposal to the party's national assembly in October, after which, if all went well, it would become national policy.
Stockholm County is the Moderate Party's most important stronghold, with the party winning 26 percent of the vote there in last year's election.
Rykatkin said that he believed Sweden's well-funded public serviced broadcasters were suffocating innovation.
“I think it is outdated, I think Sweden has to move forward, we are in a growing economy and we have a growing technological advantage and we have to take advantage of that,” he said.
“I think public service is something that takes out a lot of the competition in television.”
The digitalisation of the music industry spawned the Swedish music streaming giant Spotify.
The vote was immediately condemned by Christer Nylander, Chairman of the Swedish parliament's Committee on Cultural Affairs, who represents the centre-right Liberal Party.
“I think it's regrettable that the Moderates in Stockholm have taken this decision. Sweden needs diversity in the media, diverse medias and we need public service. We need more investigation, more representation, not less.”