Sweden | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2008

2008 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Sweden has strong legal protections for press freedom under the Freedom of the Press Law and the Fundamental Law of Freedom of Expression. Journalists’ sources are protected by law, as is access to information for all citizens. Tensions continue between the media and Muslim groups in Scandinavia, stemming from the 2005 Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. In September 2007, artist Lars Vilke and editor Ulf Johansson of Nerikes Allehanda received death threats via the internet for publishing cartoons of the prophet. Al-Qaeda in Iraq offered a bounty for the artists’ murders. Also in September, police raided the home of a prizewinning TV reporter, Trond Sefastsson, according to the Local. Sefastsson’s computer and investigative materials were seized by police. The reporter admitted to collecting 400,000 kroner (US$57,500) from the family of a convicted criminal that he claims was paid to him for legal counsel.

Public broadcasting has a strong presence in Sweden, consisting of Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio. Public television and radio are 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 at 77 percent of the population, Sweden has one of the highest proportions of internet users in the world.