Avoid commercialisation and privatization of community radio in Sweden
In a letter to the Minister of Culture Mrs Adelsohn Liljeroth May 8, 2011, the CMFE board questioned the loopholes in the Swedish radio law, which make it possible for private commercial operators to take control of community radio frequencies under the cover as "ideell forening" (voluntarily association).
The Ministry later commissioned the broadcasting authority to investigate if community radio is being commercially exploited. A report was presented to the government a year later. In its conclusions the authority did not find it necessary to suggest any change of rules or law regarding community radio in Sweden.
In a new letter Jan. 28 2013 CMFE points out that it has been reported, commercial radios on community radio frequencies are still operating and also that a niche market is on the increase.
Especially in the Skîne region there are several commercial outlets being organized into networks. A new commercial network Retro FM in Malmo will be using the community radio frequencies. Two others commercial radio stations running as "narradio" Guldkanalen and Fun Radio together have reached six percent of the total radio audience in Malmo.
Community radio in Sweden is becoming less a resource for non-profit associations and more an opportunity for commercial operators who can circumvent the formal commercial radio sector and its official responsibilities including concession fees to the government.
CMFE assessment is that in Sweden commercialisation and privatisation of community radio will not end but rather increase. CMFE regard the privatisation of "narradio" as a most serious problem, which is also a unique situation in Europe. In Sweden CMFE has mapped 140 so called "communityradio stations"but of these 25 stations are not 'community radio' at all. On the contrary, these are privately and for-profit operated and represent an unfortunate exception on the European community media sector.
Privatisation will be detrimental to the development of community media in Sweden. It is also contradicting the intentions put forward by the European Parliament 2008 and the Council of Europe 2009 for non-profit community radio. A privatisation of community media will deprive the civil society of a major resource for freedom of expression and cultural development,especially for minority groups.
CMFE therefore calls on the Swedish government to take the issue under continued serious consideration and still to take the necessary steps to preserve community radio in Sweden.
Read the letter to
Ms Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Minister of Culture, Media and Sports, Sweden
Read the response (Feb 13 2013) from the Ministry of Culture