Sweden is supporting journalists facing online threats and hate

Published 2 December 2017 in:

Online threats and hate have become one of the most effective tools employed by those who want to shut down freedom of speech. Sweden has a long tradition of standing up for and protecting freedom of the press and freedom of expression. In line with the Government’s priorities in this area and with Global Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, Sweden is providing financial support to the Fojo Media Institute’s study of threats directed at journalists.

Today is the 251st anniversary of Sweden’s Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, but freedom of speech must be defended every day. A free and independent media is a prerequisite for functioning accountability and the rule of law – and has an indispensable role in protecting freedom of expression. When journalists are silenced through hate and threats, and are afraid to report on corruption, injustices and abuse, democracy is undermined and the risk of disinformation and democratic regression increases.

The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs is supporting the Fojo Media Institute in a pilot study to strengthen awareness of the link between online hate campaigns against journalists and organised disinformation. The study is examining the conditions for creating a platform to prevent and counter online hate, particularly against woman journalists.

This initiative is part of the Government’s overall efforts to strengthen journalists’ safety. Sweden, together with other committed countries, is pushing for the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity to be fully implemented. Sweden has also initiated a UN resolution that human rights must be respected both offline and online, and that this specifically includes freedom of expression.

This case relates to Global Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions.

More information about the project.

Read about Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ country reports on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

In 1766, Sweden became the first country in the world to write freedom of the press into its constitution. Find out more about it here.

Find out about global trends in media freedom, media pluralism, media independence and safety of journalists in the third edition of the UNESCO World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development report, and read the speech that Sweden’s Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kunke delivered when the report was launched in the beginning of November.