Protection of Reputation

Protection of Reputation in Europe

The freedom of expression and information is a fundamental element in the principles of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.

Protection of Reputation, and Freedom of Expression Damages in Sweden

In the Swedish Constitution: The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (SFS nr: 1991:1469)

In addition to the Instrument of Government, Sweden has three fundamental laws (Sveriges Grundlagar): the Act of Succession, the Freedom of the Press Act, and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, which covers damages and other topics. The Riksdag Act occupies an intermediate position between a fundamental law and ordinary law. The four fundamental lwas formed the Constitution of Sweden.

The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression was adopted in 1991 and is Swedens youngest fundamental law. Like the Freedom of the Press Act, it contains provisions on free dissemination of information and prohibits censorship. It covers old and new media, such as radio, TV, films and CD-ROM discs.

Chapter 8 of the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression has the heading “On radio programmes and technical recordings emanating from abroad etc”. Here is the content of Chapter 8:

  • Article 1 provides the following: Damages may not be awarded on grounds of the content of a radio programme or technical recording other than in cases in which the item contains a freedom of expression offence. Provisions of law apply in respect of damages on account of offences under Chapter 5, Articles 2 and 3.
  • Article 2 provides the following: The person who is liable under penal law according to Chapter 6 is liable also for damages. Damages may also be claimed from the person who operates the programme service or caused the technical recording to be made. In cases under Chapter 1, Article 8, the perpetrator is liable for damages on account of offences committed by him during the transmission. Damages may also be claimed from the person who operates the programme service. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
  • Article 3 provides the following: If the person liable under penal law has no known domicile in Sweden at the time of the offence and cannot be reached here during the court proceedings, with the result that liability passes under Chapter 6, Article 2, paragraph three, to some other person, damages may still be claimed also from the firstnamed, insofar as this is permitted in law.
  • Article 4 provides the following: The provisions of Chapter 6, Article 4 of this Fundamental Law shall apply also in respect of damages on account of freedom of expression offences committed in a radio programme or technical recording. The provisions of Chapter 11, Articles 3 to 5 of the Freedom of the Press Act on private claims for damages in certain cases shall apply also in respect of such damages.
  • Other Chapters of the Law are:

  • Chapter 1. Basic provisions
  • Chapter 2. On the right to anonymity
  • Chapter 3. On transmission, production and dissemination
  • Chapter 4. On responsible editors
  • Chapter 5. On freedom of expression offences
  • Chapter 6. Liability rules
  • Chapter 7. On supervision, prosecution and special coercive measures
  • Chapter 9. On court proceedings in freedom of expression cases
  • Chapter 10. On radio programmes and technical recordings emanating from abroad etc.
  • Chapter 11. General provisions
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