Foreign Minister Accuses State Broadcasting Of Bias - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Foreign Minister Accuses State Broadcasting Of Bias

Published March 5, 2014

Photos by
Elínborg Önundardóttir

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson has responded on why he will only speak with RÚV under his conditions.

Vísir reports that Gunnar is not satisfied with how RÚV reported on him last Friday. In particular, he says that a key point he was trying to make was edited out of RÚV’s broadcast – that the Foreign Affairs Committee could come up with some ideas as to how to respond to the public outcry over the decision to end EU accession talks.

As a result of this, he says, Gunnar has set the condition that he will only speak with RÚV if they broadcast speaking with him live, or if he is able to have an unedited copy of any video recordings of him before the news is made.

However, Gunnar Bragi had more to say about RÚV. Speaking to radio stationBylgjan this morning, the minister accused RÚV of being biased, especially when it comes to the EU:

“I think the news office of RÚV has been too much on one side, if you can put it that way, for a very long time when it comes to EU issues,” adding that there are though “certain individuals” at RÚV that he trusts talking to.

The minister is not the only one from the Progressives to suggest RÚV has a pro-EU bias. MP Vigdís Hauksdóttir made the same accusation last August, when she made a veiled threat to cut RÚV’s budget (and cuts were eventually proposed, to much protest).

In fact, when CreditInfo examined how RÚV reported on the EU from December 2012 to September 2013 – whether on the radio, television, or on their website – they found that reportage that showed the EU in an unfavorable light was more common than positive reportage, although most reportage from RÚV on the EU overall was neither positive nor negative.

Óðinn Jónsson, the news director at RÚV, pointed out to reporters that neither RÚV nor any media outlet he knows of sends out unedited news material before broadcast for subject approval. Second, he adds that if Gunnar had a problem with how he was reported on on Friday, he had the entire weekend to comment on the matter, but did not until RÚV asked him to comment on the situation in the Ukraine on Monday, at which time he refused to comment and put forward his conditions.

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