HomeDanish PoliticsControversy Surrounds Danish Prime Minister's Advisor's Text Message in B.T.

Controversy Surrounds Danish Prime Minister’s Advisor’s Text Message in B.T.

“Was the text message sent by one of Mette Frederiksen’s special advisors to Rud Pedersen after a critical article about the Prime Minister private or did it have a party political character? This seemingly technical question is crucial for whether the Prime Minister’s Office can avoid disclosing this much-discussed text message. Despite this, the Prime Minister’s Office categorically refuses to address the issue.

The Prime Minister’s Office states in a written response to B.T.: ‘The Prime Minister’s Office can refer to the ministry’s decision of June 27, 2024, and has nothing further to add.’ However, according to two legal experts, this explanation is not sufficient.

B.T. revealed last week that Sune Steffen Hansen, a partner in the consulting firm Rud Pedersen, was sent home from his workplace after making critical remarks about the Social Democrats’ political challenges in Jyllands-Posten. According to several sources, the home leave occurred after a special advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office sent a critical text message to an employee at Rud Pedersen in connection with the article.

The Prime Minister’s Office has refused to provide access to the text message from the special advisor, with the justification that it is a ‘shapeless’ message. The refusal mentions that access can be denied to messages that are assumed to have a private or party political character. However, the Prime Minister’s Office does not disclose whether the message is actually private or party political.

B.T. subsequently asked the ministry whether it had taken a position on whether the message is private or party political when processing the request for access. The Prime Minister’s Office refuses to answer this, which according to experts is unacceptable.

Sten Schaumburg-Müller, professor at the Department of Law at the University of Southern Denmark, states: ‘The statement from the Prime Minister’s Office sounds weak. It is true that there is no access to private or party political messages. Therefore, one can provide information in general terms about whether the specific text message is of a private or party political nature. Avoiding answering is not appropriate, but one should respond to what is relevant.’

Jesper Olsen, chairman of Transparency International and external lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, agrees: ‘No, I do not think so. Because it is on equipment owned by the Prime Minister’s Office or used by someone employed by them.’

The article in Jyllands-Posten, in which Sune Steffen Hansen participated, was about how Mette Frederiksen’s persona posed a problem for the Social Democrats. Hansen stated that he had worked with a focus group consisting of classic middle-class Social Democratic voters. He explained that this group of voters would hardly return to the Social Democrats after the removal of public holidays and statements about the work ethic of Danes.

Mette Frederiksen has appointed three special advisors in the Prime Minister’s Office. According to information from B.T., the controversial text message was sent by special advisor and Chief of Staff Martin Justesen. However, the Prime Minister’s Office does not want to disclose which employee is involved.

B.T. and several other media organizations have complained about the Prime Minister’s Office decision to the Folketing’s Ombudsmand (Parliamentary Ombudsman), who has already stated that they will take up the case.”

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