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Government agency "covered up" sensitive data

Published söndag 1 maj 2011 kl 17.02
Tree felling did not follow environment rules. (The vehicle on the picture has no direct link to the story)

The Swedish Forest Agency covered up sensitive data regarding how forestry companies damage the environment, Swedish Radio's programme Kaliber reports.

According to the Forest Agency's own statistics, nearly half of all the tree felling by the companies in the county of Dalarna, do not follow the stipulated rules about taking care of the environment.

With 47% of the reviewed cases of tree felling falling short of the requirements, Dalarna ends up at the bottom of the list, Kaliber reports.

But when the local branches of the Forest Agency wanted to publicise the statistics, they received a call from Camilla Kastner, the press secretary of the Agency's general director. "I was called up by Camilla Kastner, who claimed we had to stop this," says Thomas Östlund, head of the Agency in northern Dalarna.

Before that, the CEO of the forestry company Stora Enso Skog, which carries out most of its business in Dalarna, had contacted the Forest Agency's director general to ask about the planned publication. Shortly after that the publication was stopped.

Questioned about this, the director general Monica Stridsman tells Kaliber that she handed the case to her press secretary. The press secretary, in turn, says that it was the heads of the organisation's local districts that decided themselves not to publish the information. This is however clearly denied - on tape - by both Thomas Östlund, in Dalarna's northern district, as well as Hans Olof Markus, who heads the Forest Agency's district in southern Dalarna

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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