The newspapers recently acquired by Vefpressan will keep coming, but one editor was very blunt about his feelings on working for the company.
All eleven papers published by Fótspor ehf, which was bought out by media conglomerate Vefpressan ehf., will continue to be published, RÚV reports. Vefpressan owner and former Progressive Party city councilperson Björn Ingi Hrafnsson told reporters that next on his agenda will be to look at “staffing issues”.
Ingimar Karl Helgason, the editor of Reykjavík Vikublað, and Björn Þorláksson, the editor of Akureyri Vikublað, both expressed surprise and sadness at the acquisition. Björn, after learning that his paper would continue running, posted on Facebook that he gave some thought as to whether or not he would continue on as editor under Björn Ingi’s company. His conclusion was definitive.
“Not a chance in hell, Björn Ingi Hrafnsson,” he wrote. “I could never have faith in you, because I don’t believe you have faith in the public good, given your publishing habits. I think that your emphasis is on your personal interests.”
As reported, Björn Ingi became the chair of magazine DV’s board last December, when Vefpressan bought the magazine. Vefpressan is also the company behind the media websites Pressan.is, Eyjan.is and Bleikt.is.
Last month, a blackmail case involving Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson – also of the Progressive Party – alleged collusion between the Prime Minister and Björn Ingi to take over magazine DV. It was brought to light that a 60 million ISK overdraft from MP Bank to Vefpressan was made in 2013. The director of MP Bank is Sigurður Atli Jónsson, who is married to the Prime Minister’s sister. MP Bank’s Director of Asset Management, Sigurður Hannesson, was also one of the Prime Minister’s closest economic advisors. This money was allegedly used to help acquire DV last November.
Arnar Ægisson, the managing director of Pressan, told Vísir that while he could not remember how and for what reason the overdraft was made, he denied the Prime Minister had any connection to or communications with the company. Likewise, both the Prime Minister and Björn Ingi Hrafnsson, who owns Vefpressan and chairs DV, denied any collusion in the purchase of DV.