Erik Larsson, editor-in-chief of Omvärlden.
Photo: Jonas Gratzer
October 9, 2023
Omvärlden newspaper, owned by Sida, is at risk of closure. The agreement with the production company was terminated as of the beginning of the year due to the lack of a budget for 2024.
Eric Larson, editor-in-chief, will leave after the new year. He works for the production company Intellecta, which has produced the magazine in recent years.
– We have been informed of the termination of the agreement with Sida. It is very sad news for the rest of the world. We have obtained many review articles about the changes the government has made in aid policy. Now SIDA has announced that there is no budget for next year.
The journalist had previously reported that the government had decided that Sida would reduce information and communications support about aid in Sweden. Which, in addition to Omvärlden, also affects newspapers such as Arbetet Global, Sveriges Natur and Arbetsvärlden.
The Authority also received instructions to assign the task to an entity that has a framework agreement with SIDA, if there is a budget in any case.
– I am concerned that SIDA no longer dares to maintain an independent and accurate newspaper. It would be devastating because aid amounts to SEK 56 billion a year, and newspapers and other media – with all due respect to their situation – are unfortunately not very good at covering aid issues. It is an area with large sums of money but poor journalistic scrutiny. It rarely ends happily.
Erik Larson says so The risk is that you will turn into making some kind of communications or PR product.
– The letter we received from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) stated that the task should be assigned to an agency with which the Swedish Agency has a framework agreement. Then there is, for example, the communications agency Jewelers or Ahead Group, which recently obtained a framework agreement with SIDA to produce communications campaigns. It’s a rather scary development if you support independent journalistic products.
Umvarlden’s assignment included reviewing aid policy and writing about current development issues.
– I’m afraid this mission will simply disappear.
According to Erik Larsson, SIDA outsourced the newspaper’s production for many years because the authority previously cared about its independence. Erik Larson has been editor-in-chief for just over two years. He is the only one who works full-time with Omvärlden. In addition to him, there are two people who work mainly with the newspaper and three others who do some work with it.
-If you turn it into full-time jobs, there are hardly three people including me.
He believes that there is a need for a number of newspapers that review the large aid budget.
– Last weekend, for example, we wrote an article about the terrible attack by Hamas and mentioned that Sida supports the Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq. This organization only criticized the Israeli attacks on Gaza, but did not comment on the killing of Israelis. It is important that this comes to light and that the debate on aid is based on facts. It is also important to set the salaries of aid managers and monitor the actions of the government and the opposition.
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