From Iceland — Chairperson Of Budget Committee Under Fire

Chairperson Of Budget Committee Under Fire

Published August 16, 2013

Progressive MP and chairperson of the Budget Committee, Vigdís Hauksdóttir, has been facing strong criticism for recent remarks she made about national broadcasting service RÚV.
Vigdís was recently interviewed on the radio station Bylgjan, where she had some choice words to share about RÚV:
“Is it natural that a government office like RÚV,” said Vigdís, “Which takes 4 billion ISK a year in tax money in addition to advertising revenue in competition with private channels, behaves in this way?” Here she refers to a recent RÚV news story where she contends she was misquoted. RÚV corrected the story within the same article later on.
Vigdís then added: “I am of course in this budget streamlining group, and it covers everything. I think an unnatural amount of money goes to RÚV. Especially when they don’t do a better job at reporting the news. They are fond of a particular platform, and lean to the Left. Everyone who wants to see that can see it. I assure you this is true, and can confirm it whenever and wherever that [RÚV] is very pro-EU.”
Her remarks have been taken by many to be seen as a thinly-veiled threat that she, in her powers as chairperson of the Budget Committee, will reduce funding for RÚV based on what she sees as a political position of the news office that she happens to disagree with. Editor of Fréttablaðið Ólafur Þ. Stephensen believes Vigdís should resign from the committee, and in fact a petition calling for her to step down has already reached over 3,000 signatures at the time of this writing.
For her part, Vigdís denies that she was making any threats about RÚV. She contends that her remarks were taken out of context; that she was speaking from a personal point of view, rather than from her capacity as chairperson of the Budget Committee.
Progressive Party chairperson and Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson has declined to comment on the matter.

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