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Effective review of public service companies

The Swedish Broadcasting Commission’s review of the content of public service broadcasts is largely effective and has the desired result. However, the Swedish National Audit Office (Swedish NAO) recommends that the Broadcasting Commission expands the reasoning behind certain decisions, and works to shorten its processing times.

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Photo: Concept Photo

Sveriges Television, Sveriges Radio and Utbildningsradion are public service companies. Their broadcasting activities are conducted on behalf of the State and are financed by the taxpayers. Their operations must be independent, with a high level of integrity.

The Swedish Broadcasting Commission at the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority receives reports from the public and checks whether the content of public service companies’ radio and television broadcasts complies with the regulations and conditions. The Commission also checks every year whether the companies have fulfilled their public service assignments.

The Broadcasting Commission’s review is largely fit-for-purpose and leads to the desired result:

  • It is easy to make a report to the Broadcasting Commission.
  • The Commission has a well-functioning case management system and effective prioritisation of cases that are of principle importance.
  • The companies take the Commission’s decisions very seriously, and the decisions have an impact on the companies’ publicist activities.

However, there are some areas with room for improvement. For example, the reasoning behind non-breach decisions made by the chair of the Commission, without a meeting of the Commission being held, should be explained better.

“The Broadcasting Commission could increase the transparency of its decisions with quite simple methods. For the viewer or listener who makes a report, it must be easy to understand the decision, regardless of whether it is found to be in breach of the rules or not. Ultimately, this is important for the legitimacy of the review system,” says Auditor General Helena Lindberg.

The audit also shows that processing times are increasing, despite measures having been taken to increase efficiency on several occasions.

“With long processing times, there is a risk that the reporting person’s experience of redress is impaired and in the long run, confidence in the review system may be reduced. Here development work should be carried out,” says Gunnar Myrberg, project leader for the Swedish NAO’s audit.

Recommendations in brief

The Swedish NAO recommends that the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority

  • produces a plan for reducing the Broadcasting Commission’s processing times
  • expands the reasoning behind decisions made by a chair where the Commission has not held a meeting
  • updates the set of practices more frequently.

See the report for full recommendations.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

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Updated: 08 January 2021

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