Record Performance for UR, But Public Service Questioned

Woman in a large office

writer icon Vera P. Jensen     Jann Lipka/UR   |   Culture     🕐 26. Jun. 2019

UR, the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, received the highest of praise from the Swedish Broadcasting Commission for how they conduct their work. Meanwhile, 18 percent of Swedes feel that public service broadcasting should be discontinued.

In regards to UR's work being found to be without fault, CEO Sofia Wadensjö Karén says that "it may sound obvious, but [it] is actually historic."

Public service broadcasting group
UR makes up one third of the public service broadcasting group. Along with Swedish Radio (SR) and Swedish Television (SVT), it is owned by a foundation. It is financed by the Swedish tax payer, who picks up the tab through an income based tax-collected public service fee.

UR primary aim is to produce and broadcast, both over television and radio, "educational and general knowledge programmes which strengthen, broaden and complement the work of others active in education."

UR's flawless record
This year UR received full credit for being the first public service broadcaster in Sweden, ever, to "fulfil their mission without any faults," the Swedish Broadcasting Commission stated.

The commission also noted that UR has expanded the content made available to children and youth, both on television and radio. In addition, UR has fulfilled demands for program 'ranges' in the national minority languages (Sámi, Finnish, Meänkieli och Romani Chib), as well as sign language, Jiddish, and other minority languages. All the while maintaining a positive dialogue with the groups in question.

Public service still supported by majority
A recent survey conducted by Swedish newspaper DN shows that while 18 percent of participants want to see public service broadcasting discontinued, the majority (63 percent) do not want to see it go. 20 percent of the survey participants said that they were 'unsure'.

The survey was conducted digitally between the 5th and 18th of June, 2019. 1 130 participants were asked if they were "for or against public service being discontinued – in time."

The survey also showed that out of the 18 percent who want to discontinue public service in the Nordic country, 43 percent vote for the national-conservative, right-wing populist political party Sweden Democrats (SD).

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