Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Uppdrag granskning'

I was going to mention this last week, but I forgot ... I blogged about something else instead, I bet it was important, let's see. Ah, yes, Failbook! Very important, certainly. :-D But what I've been thinking I ought to mention is that the new season of Uppdrag granskning has started. In fact it started last week. I hope all my Scandinavian readers will watch this fantastic documentary series. It's on SVT1 on Wednesdays at 8pm, with usually three reruns over the following days. It's also broadcast online simultaneously and can be watched online later as well, just go here. There will be 21 more episodes this season, excluding tonight's.

I always try to catch this if I'm able ... they do such fantastic research and reporting, and deal with so many interesting issues. I wish we had a program of this quality in Norway. Last week's episode was about a man convicted of child molestation who was in prison, but who was 'trusted' to the extent that he was let out daily - of course he abused this trust by renting an apartment in a quiet neighborhood, pretending to live there and work nights (he had to be back in jail by 9pm) ... he insinuated himself into the life of this little community and of course ended up molesting another little girl. But whose trust did he abuse? The prison authorities were fully aware of his having the apartment - they even helped him move. This despite the fact that he had been diagnosed as a pedophile and experts considered him highly likely to reoffend, AND that he had downloaded I don't know how many child abuse pictures from various places online, using the prison computer. Seriously, WTF is that about. Who's not doing their jobs in that place? That was a very interesting episode and I think it's great that UG dug around in this story.

Tonight's episode - I'm watching as I write this - is about IKEA and its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, and how he has not at all released ownership of the company as he claims, but has set up an incredibly complicated network of companies to hide away crazy amounts of money in Liechtenstein and avoid paying taxes wherever possible. Nothing illegal, but at least IMO rather immoral. They have a Twitter feed on their homepage and I see that a lot of viewers are disappointed ... at least most of those who are tweeting. ;-) Supposedly this is a non-issue, in their view. Not sure that I agree. It's not the end of the world, definitely not. But IMO it is interesting, because when someone, a company or a person or whatever, portray themselves in a certain way ... in order to sell more stuff, get sympathy, etc, and in reality they are very different from the image they construct, perhaps even the polar opposite, that is worth knowing. (Sylvia Browne comes to mind here, for some reason. >:-) For instance, this completely mistaken view that IKEA is Swedish. The company as a whole benefits hugely from that, I'm sure it's very significant in the way it's perceived all over the world. But it's not Swedish, it's Dutch. It hasn't been Swedish for I don't know how many years. But wait, is it Dutch? Or was it Belgian? No, the head office is in ... Luxembourg? No, that was before, now it's in Liechtenstein ... isn't it? Where the hell is it?

No, tax planning isn't illegal. But when a company like IKEA does it, goes to extreme lengths to hide it, and conceals it even from its own employees, that's something I for one think is good to bring to the public's attention.

Watch Uppdrag granskning, people ... you'll learn something.

No comments: