Alice Bah Kuhnke, minister of culture and democracy. Photo: Fredrik Persson / TT

Sweden’s new culture minister under fire

Criticism against Alice Bah Kuhnke is mounting following her “embarrassing” interview on Swedish Radio.

During the interview, which aired Friday morning, Bah Kuhnke of the Green Party dismissed several of the questions as “hypothetical”, even though they related to issues that fall under her area of responsibility as minister of culture and democracy.

“I think it’s a slightly ridiculous and hypothetical question coming like this, after the fact,” Bah Kuhnke replied when asked for her views on Swedish Television’s recent decision to cut scenes from a DVD version of Pippi Longstocking. The scenes were deemed offensive to ethnic minorities.

Asked whether she would have intervened earlier this year to stop Swedish channel TV4 from shutting down local stations had she been culture minister at the time, Bah Kuhnke also replied that it was a “hypothetical question”.

On social media, Bah Kuhnke was described as “embarrassing” and “laughable” and a critic for tabloid Expressen labelled the minister “ignorant”.

“Listening to Alice Bah Kuhnke ducking every relevant question is like going through 11 minutes of pure torture,” the critic, Gunnilla Brodrej, wrote Friday.

In the Swedish Radio interview, Bah Kuhnke said the most important aspect of the red-green government’s culture budget, presented Thursday, was that it allocates more money for culture than previous budgets.

“The new big thing is that the government is investing a quarter of a million krona more in our budget compared to last year. That’s the biggest thing, that we are making this investment despite the economic situation.”

The government has also vowed to scrap entrance fees at museums and Bah Kuhnke said that is just one aspect of making museums more accessible.

Bah Kuhnke, 43, is a former television presenter and general director of the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society. She joined the Green Party just three days before being appointed minister of culture and democracy.

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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