Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December 2014, 20:05 GMT

Freedom of the Press - Sweden (2007)

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 2 May 2007
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - Sweden (2007), 2 May 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/478cd54cc.html [accessed 17 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Free
Legal Environment: 2 (of 30)
Political Environment: 5 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 4 (of 30)
Total Score: 11 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)

Sweden has strong legal protections for press freedom under the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law of Freedom of Expression. In 2006, the government considered the possibility of reviewing current press legislation to address new technologies. Journalists' sources are protected by law, as is access to information for all citizens. In March, Swedish foreign minister Laila Freivalds resigned after receiving strong criticism for her involvement in the forced closure of a far-right website in February. The website had planned to post controversial Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. In a study by the Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall, it was reported that journalists at half of Sweden's newspapers and two-thirds of all newspaper editors received threats in 2006. In some instances, the threats led to stories being dropped.

In late 2006, the European Commission referred Sweden to the European Court of Justice owing to its failure to break down the monopoly of state-owned Boxer TV – Access AB on digital terrestrial broadcasting. Public broadcasting has a strong presence in Sweden, consisting of Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio. Public television and radio is funded through a license fee. Private broadcasting ownership is highly concentrated under the media companies Bonnier and the Modern Times Group. The government offers subsidies to newspapers in order to encourage competition, and media content in immigrant languages is also supported by the state. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Sweden is among the top consumers of newspapers in the world. Access to the internet is unrestricted by the government, and 76 percent of the population used the medium in 2006, one of the highest proportions of internet users in the world.

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