Swedish PM ignorant of his own constitution

Reinfeldt: proof that forehead size and intelligence are not correlated

Reinfeldt: proof that forehead size and intelligence are not correlated

News item:

The Israeli-Swedish ping-pong over an offensive article in the Swedish Aftonbladet daily continued over the weekend, with Jerusalem calling for a Swedish government condemnation of the article [accusing the IDF of stealing organs from dead Palestinians], and Stockholm pointedly refusing to do so…

…Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Saturday his government would not condemn the report.

No one can demand that the Swedish government violate its own constitution. Freedom of speech is an indispensable part of Swedish society,” Reinfeldt was quoted as telling the Swedish news agency TT. [my emphasis]

But it appears that the Swedish PM is not familiar with his constitution.

The Swedish Constitution says:

Chapter 1 Basic Principles
Article 3
The Instrument of Government, the Act of Succession and the Freedom of the Press Act are the fundamental laws of the Realm.

And the Freedom of the Press Act begins:

Chapter 1 On the Freedom of the Press
Article 1
(1) The freedom of the press means the right of every Swedish subject, without prior hindrance by a central administrative authority or other public body, to publish any written matter, and not to be prosecuted thereafter on grounds of the content of such matter other than before a court of law, or to be punished therefor in any case other than a case in which the content is in contravention of an express provision of law, enacted to preserve public order without suppressing information to the public.

The act is quite long, but I could find nothing that even suggested that the government is prohibited from expressing disapproval after the fact of anything published in a newspaper.

Interestingly, there are some things that cannot be published:

Chapter 7 On Offenses Against the Freedom of the Press
Article 4
With due regard to the purpose of a universal freedom of the press as set forth in Chapter 1, the following acts shall be regarded as offenses against the freedom of the press if they are committed by way of printed matter and if they are punishable under law:

11) persecution of a population group, whereby a person threatens or expresses contempt for a population group or other such group with allusion to its race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, or religious faith;

14) Libel, whereby a person alleges another is a criminal or is blameworthy in his way of life, or otherwise communicates information liable to expose the other to the contempt of others, and, if the person libelled is deceased, to cause offence to his survivors or which might otherwise be considered to violate the sanctity of the grave except, however, in cases in which it was justifiable having regard to the circumstances, or in order to provide information in the matter concerned and proof is presented that the information was correct or that there were reasonable grounds for it; and

15) affront, whereby a person insults another by means of offensive invective or allegations or by any other insulting behavior towards him.

It seems to me that a decent case could be made that Aftonbladet has violated all of the above.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.