Points: 10 // Status: Free

2 - Sweden

The government offers subsidies to newspapers regardless of political affiliation in order to encourage competition, and media content in immigrant languages is supported by the state. 

Public broadcasting, consisting of Sveriges Television (SVT) and SR, has a strong presence in Sweden. Public television and radio are funded through a license fee, but there are more than 100 private radio stations, and television has considerable competition from private stations, with the main competitor being TV4.

Private ownership in the broadcast sector is highly concentrated under the media companies Bonnier and the Modern Times Group. Access to the internet is unrestricted by the government, and the medium was used by about 94 percent of the population in 2013. Since February 2013, every household that has a personal computer or a smartphone connected to the internet has had to pay an annual television licensing fee.


There are strong legal protections for media in Sweden under the Freedom of the Press Act of 1766, the first press freedom law in the world, as well as the 1991 Fundamental Law of Freedom of Expression. However, these laws criminalize expression considered to be hate speech, and prohibit threats or expressions of contempt directed against a group or member of a group. While freedom of the press in general is greatly valued in the country, there is considerable debate in Swedish media about the limits of free speech regarding contentious issues like immigration or Islam.


The Freedom of the Press Act provides protections to journalists’ sources and guarantees access to information. Physical threats and direct harassment of the press aren't usually a problem, and there were no reported events in 2013.