Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Peter Sunde on the Swedish Culture Minister

Peter Sunde of The Pirate Bay has written an article in response to recent comments by the Swedish Culture Minister, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, published in the Swedish newspaper, SvD. Here is my attempt at translation.

How do we get the culture minister to listen?

Published: May 27, 2009, 12.54. Last changed: May 27, 2009, 13.53

The Culture Minister's statement on The Pirate Bay shows that the establishment has difficulty in understanding new sectors of society that arise, for example via the Internet. Therefore we would like to invite her to the Venice Biennale in which the TPB will exhibit. Perhaps she will listen to us, writes Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi.

A few days ago our Culture Minister, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, spoke regarding her feelings about The Pirate Bay spectrial. She has been quoted as saying "This may not be appreciated by some, but I was one of those who expressed his pleasure over the ruling in Pirate Bay case," she said.

Apart from it being generally poor judgement for a minister to speak on a specific case, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth chose to do that because she thought it was important to comment whilst at a meeting with some foreign composers of popular music, or as i see it, creators of little culture, where she just got to eat well and have plenty to drink.

Her statement is a symptom of a lack of communication between political leaders and non-established channels. Our rulers have fixed groups to which they respond and do not get around to some of the new groups that have arisen, for example via the internet.

This is not the first time this has happened. Even [Swedish Minister of Justice] Beatrice Ask has previously made judments about TPB as minister. This happened during the Olympics when the Justice Minister said that TPB gave Sweden a bad name internationally. This was followed by thousands of people mailing in their positive perceptions of the TPB to her - a very positive set of documents which unfortunately did not even merit a comment from Beatrice Ask. But at least we tried to get her to listen.

Therefore, we will try again: I wish to hereby officially invite Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth to another cultural event, the Venice Biennale. There, on a major world art Biennale, The Pirate Bay will exhibit their project 'Embassy of Piracy'.

It is a great honor for us and for Sweden to be invited and we are very proud. We would appreciate it if our culture was able to rejoice together with us.

Unfortunately we do not have any money to pay for the visit (for some reason, it is difficult for us to culture although this is not the first time we set out on an international art exhibition). Fast as I understand it is still not okay to receive any expensive gifts / dinners as elected.

We hope that Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth turn up for their own so we also have the opportunity to present our views on culture, although we do not have the same elite status as other cultural practitioners she supports.


The Pirate Bay

Saturday, 2 May 2009

News Reporting

One of my nefarious and expanding roles involves monitoring how, and what, news is reported online, so it is my (dis)pleasure to have to trawll through the various major news sites.

For some time, one of the worst has been, not for the breadth of their coverage, which is generally excellent, or even for editorial bias, but for the insipid quality of its journalism. Barely rehashed stories from elsewhere that border on plagiarism, less content than a radio news bulletin and a general feeling that, upon reaching the end of a story one has been somehow cheated.

However something odd has been happening recently; the quality of the stories has been improving, the writing is better, they have got longer and generally more insightful.

Today, though, things came back down to earth with a bump. Firstly with a story entitled "Pandemic 'could kill 750,000 in UK'" in which the reader is treated to predictions of the collapse of the health care system and a lottery of hospital beds. It is only in the fifth paragraph, half way through the story, one finds that these are worst case scenarios from a report published last year on on the state of preparedness and how to improve it. Nothing to do with the current outbreak whatsoever.

The next few that came in for attention from my virtual red pen were a mixture of unedited copy from the Press association and some reworded press releases that wouldn't pass for reporting on a student newspaper.

One would think that their coverage of the appointment first female poet laureate would go further than listening to Radio 4 and copying down what was said, perhaps some selected examples of her verse? But no that's all they choose to give their readers.

I can only presume that someone made a mistake last week and let an actual journalist into the building and that that has now been rectified and we are returned to the status quo ante.