Sweden Restricts Free Speech in new Constitution Update
What are laws protecting free speech worth if they do the opposite of what they are supposed to? Sweden is about to find out.
On the 16th of November 2022, the Swedish parliament (the Riksdag) voted in favour of three changes to the Swedish Basic Laws ("grundlag"), which consists of four constitutional laws (the Instrument of Government (Swedish: Regeringsformen), the Freedom of the Press Act (Swedish: Tryckfrihetsförordningen), the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (Swedish: Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen) and the Act of Succession (Swedish: Successionsordningen).
The first change was to make it possible to forbid organizations engaged in terrorism or funding terrorism, a law that indeed can be bent and used to silence dissidents in times of need.
The second change makes it possible to require broadcasters to follow Swedish laws, even if they broadcast from abroad and the target audience is Swedish (e.g. the shows are in Swedish).
The third, and by far the most controversial change, criminalizes the publishing or sharing information that may harm Sweden's relationship with other states and organizations. An explicit restriction to freedom of speech and press.
According to Swedish politicians, this change was needed to fit into Nato, and all parties except for the Left (former communists) and the Greens voted in favour of the changes.
Sweden is increasingly becoming a corrupt state where criticism and free journalism only exist when it doesn't challenge the powers that be. At the same time, the Swedish state often praises itself for its great democracy and for having the oldest law guaranteeing freedom of speech and of the press.
Well, the laws don't guarantee that anymore. They control what can and can't be said. I wouldn't call that freedom.
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