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The freedom of expression and information is a fundamental element in the principles of democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights.
Radio programmes and technical recordings and Freedom of Expression 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 radio programmes and technical recordings emanating from abroad 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.
Fundamental laws are more difficult to amend than other laws. They may only be amended or abolished if two Riksdags have adopted identically formulated decisions, with an election intervening. No other laws or ordinances may conflict with the fundamental laws.
Chapter 10 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 10:
- Article 1 provides the following: The provisions laid down in Chapters 1 to 9 and Chapter 11 apply also to technical recordings produced abroad and delivered for dissemination in Sweden. The provisions otherwise laid down concerning the person who caused the recording to be made shall apply instead in this connection to the person who delivered it for dissemination in Sweden. The provisions of Chapter 13, Article 6 of the Freedom of the Press Act shall however apply in relevant parts in respect of the right to communicate and procure information and intelligence for publication and the right to anonymity. In this connection, the reference to Chapter 1, Article 1, paragraphs three and four of the Freedom of the Press Act shall relate to Chapter 1, Article 2 of this Fundamental Law; the reference to Chapter 3 of the Freedom of the Press Act shall relate to Chapter 2 of this Fundamental Law; the reference to Chapter 3, Article 3 of the Freedom of the Press Act shall relate to Chapter 2, Article 3 of this Fundamental Law; and 69 the reference to Chapter 7, Article 3, paragraph one, point 2 of the Freedom of the Press Act shall relate to Chapter 5, Article 3, paragraph one, point 2 of this Fundamental Law. (see more about the Constitution of Sweden here)
- Article 2 provides the following: Whatever applies under Article 1 in respect of the right to communicate and procure information and intelligence and the right to anonymity applies also to radio programmes broadcast from transmitters outside Sweden and to technical recordings not delivered for dissemination in Sweden, regardless of whether the recording was made in Sweden or abroad. Exceptions from the right to communicate and procure information in respect of radio programmes transmitted from the high seas or the airspace over the high seas may however be laid down in law.
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 8. On damages
- Chapter 9. On court proceedings in freedom of expression cases
- Chapter 11. General provisions