Sweden - June 2023
Parliament approves increase in penalties for crimes against journalists
Parliament approved amendments to the criminal code to strengthen the protection of journalists and prevent attacks on reporters. The changes aim to safeguard impartial reporting by journalists by minimising the risk of exposure to threats which may affect their work or lead to self-censorship. The amendments ensure that crimes committed against a person because of their role as a journalist are assessed more harshly and carry higher penalties. Recent research by Lund University found a need for increased resources and priority within the legal system to address online harassment against journalists. The changes also introduce penal provisions to expressly prevent abuse and harassment against other “socially beneficial functions,” including personnel in healthcare, social services, rescue services and schools, to ensure the uninhibited performance of duties deemed critical for society, and to protect occupations that are especially exposed to threats.