Swedish law limits freedom of speech
on the Internet

The 24th of October 1998 Sweden got a new law on personal data, "PUL", which is based on EU legislation. The law makes it illegal to give names public on the net, without the mentioned persons "unmistakable consent".

The law makes it illegal to critique people on home- and chatpages. The punishment: Up to two years in prison.

The law makes an exception for "journalistic purposes", but it has been unclear how to define journalism on the net. Similar legislation has been adopted in other EU-countries. 

This site analyses, from a swedish point of view, the law and it´s consequences for freedom of speech on the net. But also how the law effects the citizens right of personal integrity.

It also gives an example on how Swedish communities have been affected. The Community Gällivare in the arctic part of Sweden has had a long fight with the Swedish Data inspection in the late 90ties on the right to publish protocols from municipal board meetings on the net. The problem: The protocols contained names of people.


The Gällivare case and the fight about names on the internet


Article in the "American reporter" from November 24th 1998 about the new Swedish legislation

Illustration by Martin Odell (copyright)

Illustration: Martin Odell (c)

"Time to bring
back anonymity"

The Quote "Time to
bring back anonymity"
comes from Ms Anitha
Bondestam, former
general director of the
Swedish data inspection.

In a English brochure
from 1995 she argues for
more anonymity - and
welcomes a strict
interpretation of the EU
data directive on which
the recent Swedish
legislation is built.

The illustrator

Martin Odell is a Swedish
illustrator who works for
Magazines such as
"Journalisten", given out
by the Swedish Union of
Journalists and
given out by the union
of public employees

About the site

This page is a part of the site
och yttrandefriheten", The
law on personal data and
freedom of speech,
produced in June 1998 by
Christoph Andersson and
Susanne Bertman as a
final project for the course
"Global electronic journalism",
given at JMK, Stockholm
university in cooperation with
Södertörns högskola in
Huddinge. The site has been
continuously updated during 1998 until 2004.