According to the Swedish tabloid Expressen, all Swedish public service television productions must, from now on, be mixed in such a way that speech and music are not present at the same time. That means that there can be no discrete background music in scientific TV shows (imagine an exciting Discovery show without dramatic, low-pitched music in the background), for instance. The fitness and aerobics program host in the article is, for obvious reasons, rather upset.
And the reason to all this, you wonder? The former Swedish news anchor Claes Elfsberg, who ended his public career not to long after accusations of him sexually harassing colleagues by sending them dildos, got himself a new job as “viewer ombudsman”. He thinks the “no music while speaking”-question is the most important issue that he has been working with since he took the job.
“There are people that feel shut out when they have difficulty hearing the dialogue, typically because there are music in the background. They get sad and switch off the television.”
Hello Claes, maybe it is time for you to really retire now. Swedish public service television has been world-leading in producing captions for the hearing disabled for ages. With an increasing part of the population becoming older and older, no wonder a lot of folks get problems with their hearing. And it doesn’t matter whether you sit in your TV sofa or in a restaurant. Maybe you can tell them to switch on those captions?
Stop this nonsense now! This decision is about as smart as restricting roller coasters to 5 mph, since all the infants and retired people that cannot go in today’s coasters might get upset otherwise. I can understand why Bergman holds dialogues in his movies sacred and background music-free, but do we really need to Bergmanize our TV shows too?
This is probably one of the most stupid public sector-decisions I have heard about… for at least a month. And then I haven’t even gotten started about the enormously idiotic way public service media in Sweden is funded; by a special “TV fee” that has its own huge organization (headquartered in Sweden’s northernmost city Kiruna) just for ADMINISTRATING the fees. 200 employees. Is it just me, or could it maybe make sense to fund public service media from regular income tax?