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Swedish journalist subsidy plan debated

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, July 21 (UPI) -- Sweden's journalists union is accusing the European Union of colluding with a giant media firm to do away with the country's system of subsidizing newspapers.

The union argued Monday in Dagens Nyheter that the EU Commission has joined with international media firm Bonniers to help push for reductions in support for major Swedish newspapers from the current level of 65 million kronor ($10.7 million) to 17 million kronor ($2.85 million) over a five-year period. The article also accused Swedish EU Commissioner Margot Wallstrom of making proposals to stifle public debate of commission business in general.

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In particular, the union of journalists says it has been denied access to documents. Included was a letter from Bonniers to the commission and a 2006 report criticizing the press subsidy system, titled "A costly failure," as well as 2007 memorandums titled "The subsidized profit machine" and "The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and the Swedish press subsidies."

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