The Swedish Freedom of the Press Ordinance from 1766
Much of my research in later years have been about the early Swedish experiences of freedom of the press. Sweden was in fact the first country in the world where freedom of the press was protected in constitutional law. Of course, this was, at times, a less glorious and much more complicated history than one might suspect at first glance — politics is often a nasty business. It is nevertheless an interesting episode, also in international context.
In 2016, the 250th anniversary of the Freedom of the Press Ordinance was widely celebrated in Sweden, and the jubilee also caught international attraction. I was the guest at several international conferences in England, Finland, France, USA and Scotland, where freedom of the press and public access to official documents (offentlighetsprincipen) in Sweden was discussed.
As a part of this international interest, translators Ian Giles and Peter Graves made a much needed new rendition of the 1766 Freedom of the Press Ordinance into English. It has now been republished together with an introduction, written by myself, about the background and significance of the Freedom of the Press Ordinance. Both texts are distributed with a CC BY license and free to reuse:
The Swedish Freedom of the Press Ordinance of 1766: Background and Significance. Together with a translation of the original ordinance made by Ian Giles & Peter Graves (Stockholm: National Library of Sweden, 2023)