World’s first press freedom law, but..

Sweden, home of the world´s first press freedom law from 1776, still ranks among the very top when it comes to media independence. 2020 starts with a considerable renewal of press ethical system. The Press Ombudsman was renamed The Media ombudsman on January 1 with expanded supervisory functions allowing to handle complaints not only on print media, but also on tv, radio and online.
Law enforcement actively combat attacks against journalists: fewer charges filed, though some perpetrators sentenced. One third of all Swedish journalists say they suffer online hatred and threats sometimes leading them to self-censorship. Public service media is funded through taxation rather than a license fee as before raising a debate about its public role. Whereas the rise of political populism and extreme right politics makes room for an active and growing online alternative media with a clear far right political agenda. The worrisome trend of big media houses buying smaller newspapers continue. Five media companies currently own more than 50 percent of all local media.The rise of political populism and white supremacy movements has also made room for an active and growing group of online alternative media with a clear far-right political agenda. According to the annual approval poll for media in Sweden, the far-right voters has the lowest approval ratings for established media, hence turning to so-called alternative media outlets on the internet.
During 2019, Swedish media and journalists suffered harsh attacks and threats from China. The attacks often related to media reporting on Hong Kong and Taiwan or the Swedish-Chinese publisher and author Gui Minhai, jailed in China since 2015.
Exiled Iranian journalists in Sweden also suffered attacks and threats from the Iranian regime. Since 2001 the Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak has been in jail in Eritrea without trial. No other journalist in the world has been in jail for such a long time just for doing professional duties.

in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index



3 in 2019

Global score


8.31 in 2019

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2021
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2021
Go to the barometre