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Alternative agendas?

Capitalists sniff at Ny Tid. The museum guards themselves and behind the scenes Bjørn and Bjørgulv lurk. There is reason to believe that they have different agendas than the old SFs.


Tradition faith it blows around one of the left-wing newspapers. This time it is Ny Tid that creates a fire in the roses' camp. After struggling with income for a number of years, Ny Tid has been sucked at Damm. The publisher will buy the newspaper and further develop it. Owned by the Danish media group Egmont, and with pockets full of Harry Potter millions, the publisher wants to build a cultural profile. The magazine Vagant was bought and Kraftsentrum was started to strengthen its focus on Norwegian literature. Now they want to strengthen the profile with the purchase of Ny Tid. The Danish-owned publisher wants to save the left-wing weekly newspaper from a painful death. There are many on the left who do not want. The publisher comes in the Count's time. The red numbers in the accounts have become more and more. Circulation has declined and when Norway Post is at the same time stifling increased postage.

When the rescue now has materialized in the form of a publisher with a well-filled wallet, it goes cold down the back to the old guard SV-er. The so-called museum guards who remember well the time when the newspaper was called Orientering and the party was called SF. The purchase is controversial among many of those who speak loudly on the left side of Norwegian politics. The purchase is supported by the board, the newspaper's employees and SV's central board, but the museum guards are not quite as positive. Berge Furre, Tore Linné Eriksen and Dag Seierstad do not want a capitalist company as Ny Tid owner. Positive words about how Damm will support the newspaper do not help old people. They brought out the rhetorical canon and managed to postpone Monday's extraordinary general meeting for a week.

In the scenes, wonder a large number of profiles on the left, the question is whether they have the same agenda? "That is not why we have fought for Socialism," said Furre. A little behind the barricades, two gentlemen named Bjørn Smith-Simonsen and Bjørgulv Braanen have stood. Both have an interest in Ny Tid remaining at least in alternative newspaper Norway. Bjørn Smith-Simonsen is the man behind the old left-wing team Pax. Together with the foundation Fritt Ord and Dagsavisen, he was part of the trio that was behind the acquisition and revitalization of Morgenbladet a couple of years ago. A newspaper that has doubled its circulation after the foundation put its millions on the table. But he is not just a Morgenbladet shareholder. Smith-Simonsen also has shares in Ny Tid, and thus voting rights at the general meeting. And he has expressed interest in opening his wallet to secure shares in Klassekampen, should AKP sell out. He is one of several who want Ny Tid to be merged with Klassekampen. It is a solution several others have been eager for. Berge Furre is one of them. Nor is Bjørgulv Braanen unfamiliar with that issue. But as editor of Ny Tid competitor Klassekampen, he wisely keeps his mouth shut this time.

But Braanen does not have to say anything to express what he means. The newspaper does that for him. The class struggle was the newspaper that first wrote about Damm's interest in Ny Tid, and has since followed the case closely. The only strange thing is that so far only the opponents of the Damm purchase have been allowed to speak in the newspaper's columns, under headlines such as "- Thoughtless New Time Sale" and "Do not believe in Damm" the critics have been allowed to speak. But few of those who stand for the opposite line have spoken.

Is that how to understand that Braanen prefers to see that fresh capital is not injected into the left-wing party's longest-lived newspaper project? If Damm decides to put some money behind Ny Tid's printing ink, the newspaper could become a significant competitor to «Venstresiden's daily newspaper». What agenda does Braanen really have? Ny Tid is a newspaper that fears bankruptcy. If the opponents manage to gather enough votes to block the Damm purchase, it can be the result. For how great is the probability that Smith-Simonsen, Braanen and the others will be able to stack enough money on their feet to establish a viable New Age?

If the newspaper is purchased by Damm, the employees have been guaranteed that the newspaper's radical traditions will be continued at the time of transfer, and they are given full editorial freedom to carry the newspaper further. This will contribute to strengthening alternative media in Norway, which will undoubtedly be positive for opinion formation in this country. If the "Class Fight Track" is run in full, we risk the opposite. Is that what you want, museum keepers? Running a solution that could end in closure is, in my opinion, absurd.

A revitalized New Time will be a force in Norwegian public debate, journalism has long since been decoupled from party politics and Ny Tid has long since decoupled from SV. The party's ownership of the newspaper has only the interest of history, but the newspaper still has the right to life. Then it is wrong to transfer the newspaper from one political party to another. None of them have the money needed to give the newspaper new life.

Trond Gram is a journalist.

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