Media legislation

Media legislation is based on a strong tradition of press freedom. It is all regulated by a basic law, dating back to 1766. Freedom is granted for the content of radio and television by a parallel basic law, the Freedom of Expression Act. Additional laws regulate organisational and technical conditions. There are legal freedoms to establish sites and no restriction on content. Content on the Internet without a formal responsible publisher is governed by ordinary laws. The basic laws on press freedom also grant citizens access to public documents.

The general principles of broadcasting are presented in the Freedom of Expression Act. Details are explained in the Radio and Television Act. There is a licence for terrestrial broadcasting of television and for public service radio. It is issued by the government on the basis of a contractual agreement, normally for a period of five years. For the contractual period, certain specifications are presented, concerning, for example, news organisation, children's programming and the amount of Swedish productions, as well as terms of fairness and bias. Licence fees are decided by Parliament and finance public service broadcasting. Changing to a tax has been discussed, however, so far, no concrete proposal was put forward.

For general media policy issues, there is a strong consensus in the political establishment in favour of press freedom