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Swedish Freedom of the Press Ordinance, Stockholm (1810)

Source: Kong. Maj:ts Och Riksens Ständers Faststälde Tryckfrihets-Förordning; Dat. Stockholm den 9 Martii 1810. Cum Gratia & Privilegio S:æ R:æ Maj:tis. STOCKHOLM, Tryckt i Kongl. Tryckeriet, 1810.

Swedish Freedom of the Press Ordinance, Stockholm (1810), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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"We, CARL, by the Grace of God, King of Sweden, Goths and Wends, Duke of Schleswig Holstein, Stormarn and Ditmarsen, Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, etc., etc., hereby make it known that since the Estates of the Realm have unanimously adopted and ratified the Freedom of the Press Ordinance, which, in accordance with Section 85 of the Constitution, should be jointly adopted by the King and the Estates at this Diet, and which has now been submitted for Our Gracious approval, We, in accordance with the rights granted to Us under the aforementioned Section, wish to adopt, approve, and confirm this Freedom of the Press Ordinance approved by the Estates of the Realm, exactly as follows:


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We, the undersigned Estates of the Swedish Realm, Counts, Barons, Bishops, Nobility, Clergy, Burghers, and Common People, now assembled here in Stockholm for the General Diet, hereby declare: As provided for in the Constitution accepted by Us on 6 June of the preceding year and ratified by the King and the Estates, the Freedom of the Press has been granted to the Swedish People, by virtue of the provision in Article 86 of the said Constitution, which defines Freedom of the Press as every Swedish man's right to publish writings without any prior restrictions imposed by the public authorities, to be held accountable before a Legal Court of law for their content, and not to be punished otherwise unless the content violates clear law intended to preserve public peace and not to impede public enlightenment. Therefore, and with regard to the aims thus prescribed, We hereby declare that everyone is free and open to express and communicate his thoughts in any form of writing, subject to the regulations against the abuse of Freedom of the Press, which shall be expressly stipulated below in accordance with the General Law of the Realm, with regard to the internal peace and external security of the State, as well as the sanctity associated with the Highest Power, the Authority, the individual Citizen, and Morals related to it, in any subject, regardless of whether it concerns this Realm, foreign lands, the present time, or the past, living persons, or the deceased. As a result of this, and along with our obligation to all those who may be legally


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judged for offenses in the general press, to be the defendant's legal defence and protection, We have, to ensure Freedom of the Press in a manner consistent with the legitimate demands of a Civil Society and every Citizen, wished to stipulate and prescribe the following:

Section 1

1. All previously applicable laws, provisions, and regulations concerning Freedom of the Press or Book Trade are hereby repealed, and as a consequence of this, all previously issued specific prohibitions on the publication of certain books, writings, and documents are also nullified; these shall not be subject to prosecution except as prescribed by this Freedom of the Press Ordinance.

2. No examination of the writing prior to printing, or any prohibition against its printing, shall take place. No written work shall be required to be submitted to the printer, publisher, or author before its publication, nor shall any inspection impeding the printing or publication of works be permitted; however, educational institutions shall retain their previous authority to review and approve the dissertations that are publicly defended in their lecture halls.

3. No privileges for the publication of writings, regardless of their form or nature, shall be required from now on. For every author or publisher, the right to publish from print shall be free, except where others have already obtained exclusive rights, which shall remain intact. Such exclusive rights shall not be granted for a longer period than twenty years from now on. Those already granted for an indefinite period shall be valid only for the lifetime of the recipient. Privileges for the publication of writings granted in support of public institutions shall not be in force for a longer period than twenty years, counted from the date of this Ordinance, with His Royal Majesty retaining the right to renew them each time for a maximum of twenty years.

4. No privileges for printing houses shall be required, but everyone shall be free to establish such printing houses within a city, or at a maximum distance of one-half Swedish mile [i.e., 6 km] from it, always subject to the city's jurisdiction, without being subject to any


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laws or regulations pertaining to printing or any trade guild ordinances, of whatever nature or size seems suitable to him. However, he shall be required to notify the High Governor's Office and the Magistrate in Stockholm, as well as the Governor's Office and the City Magistrate in the areas where the establishment is located, thirty days before any publication leaves the establishment, stating that he has established a printing house and where it is located. It is the responsibility of the Royal Majesty's local authorities to promptly inform the Court Chancellor of such matters by express mail.

5. Authors shall not be obligated to have their names printed on the published work. Whether they wish to remain anonymous or not, it is their responsibility to provide the printer with a sealed note containing their names and places of residence, accompanied by a written certification of the accuracy of these details from two well-known individuals known to the printer, who shall bear responsibility for the author in case the work is prosecuted within a legal timeframe and the author's name and place of residence are found to have been falsely stated or omitted from the note. If a printer reveals an author's name and place of residence without being legally ordered by the judge to do so, he shall be fined two hundred Riksdalers, and his offense shall be published in the public newspapers.

6. Publishers of foreign works in translation or of works by domestic authors who have not provided their names, as well as publishers of periodical writings or collections of writings by multiple authors, have the same rights, obligations, and responsibilities as authors in all cases not otherwise specified in this Ordinance.

7. For the content or style of a publication, no printer shall be held accountable, except in cases where he has neglected to provide himself with the sealed note as prescribed in Section 5 or when the name of an author or publisher is affixed to a publication without their consent or when such a name cannot be disclosed as stipulated below in Section 8 of this clause.

8. Every publication shall be the property of the author or its lawful rights holder. Anyone who prints or reprints a publication without the written permission of the author or publisher shall forfeit the edition or be fined its full value, at the discretion of the injured party.


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This law does not apply to translators except when a translator misuses someone else's name or reprints this work, or presents his translation as someone else's.

Publishers of collections or periodical writings do not infringe on an author's ownership rights when they publish the author's unpublished work in them while withholding the author's name. Anyone who falsely puts on another work a title page, or an incorrect author or publisher name, shall be punished in accordance with Chapter 8, Section 3 of the Penal Code. A fictitious name that does not identify any real person is not prohibited from being used on the title page when the author's correct sealed note has been provided.

[Likely 9.] On every publication, the printer's name, place of printing, and the year shall be indicated. If a printer neglects to do so, he shall be fined three hundred Riksdalers for the first offense and six hundred Riksdalers for the second offense. If it happens a third time, he shall forfeit his printing house. If anyone falsely puts a printer's name or incorrect place of printing on a publication, they shall also be subject to punishment under Chapter 8, Section 3 of the Penal Code. However, what is stipulated here regarding the indication of names and places shall not apply to notifications, condolences, forms, bidding notes, and similar documents of such nature.

10. Of everything that is printed, the printer shall be obliged to remove from the edition and deliver without charge as many copies as are required for the universities within the realm, the Royal Library, the National Archives, and the Royal Academy of Sciences, each receiving one copy. If a work is accompanied by expensive plates, such plates shall only be delivered unconditionally to the Royal Library.

11. No hindrance shall exist for free bookselling or for the distribution for sale of any publication, whether domestic or foreign. Every author or publisher is free to distribute a publication belonging to him by virtue of such status, either personally or through others. There shall be no obstacles to his continued distribution other than those prescribed in Section 4 and Section 10 of this Ordinance.

12. Under the term 'publication,' as used in this Ordinance, one shall understand anything that is made available through printing for the public to see.


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Section 2

1. In accordance with the principles laid down above for general and lawful Freedom of the Press, every author shall have the freedom, subject to the reservations stipulated in Section 3 below, to publish his thoughts on anything that is or may become the subject of human knowledge through print. It clearly follows that, with due regard to the mentioned reservations, no kind of science or branch of knowledge, whatever its subject may be, the Supreme Being, Humanity, the World, or Society, can be exempted from allowable topics. Nor can any kind of existing or future law or public ordinance, or any kind of official work or public institution, or any kind of decision, institution, or action emanating from any authority acting in an official capacity, be exempted.

2. For every subject of writing, the style, unless it clearly stands out as disgraceful or defamatory, shall be at the discretion of every author.

3. In accordance with what is stipulated in Section 1, Paragraph 3, every author or publisher shall be allowed, under the sole condition of respecting the sanctity of others' ownership rights, to publish writings of any form, size, or nature.

4. Based on what is stipulated in Section 1, Paragraph 1 of this clause, it shall also be explicitly allowed for everyone, with the exceptions and conditions stipulated below for the publisher's better compliance, to publish in general print all, including proceedings as well as other public matters related to documents, records, and decisions of any name and nature, whether they pertain to the past or to cases that may arise in the future, whether they are at the Supreme Court, the Lower Judicial Revision, the Public Preparation, Upper and Lower Courts, Boards, Committees, Preparations, Directions, Commissioners, Administrations, the King's Delegates, Consistories, Execution Seats, or other public works, without distinction as to the nature of the cases being Civil, Criminal, Economic, Military, or Ecclesiastical; furthermore, all existing or future instructions, constitutions, regulations, statutes, ordinances,


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privileges, rescripts, and general ordinances, issued from wherever, along with all the relations of the aforementioned higher and lower courts, colleges, offices, public corporations, and all officials and employees, memorials, applications, proposals, reports, complaints, and responses thereto, as far as the parts thereof that pertain to the handling of public officials and works, and shall be for that purpose, not only shall all such documents at courts and other aforementioned works and offices be delivered promptly and without delay upon request, to anyone, whether he has a stake in the matter or not, under penalty, such as for neglect of duty, if such a request is denied by any public servant or is unduly delayed, but also under the same penalty, everyone shall be granted free access to all archives, to obtain on the spot or have copied, or, if significant obstacles are encountered, to obtain copies with proper payment, of all kinds of documents on any subject whatsoever.

In addition to the previous permission, the following exceptions and conditions shall be strictly observed:

That protocols held by the King in ministerial matters and command cases, or at the Council of State's protocols and documents, or at the Estates of the Realm's, or the Secret Committee's, or the Constitutional Committee's documents regarding the Council of State or the National Debt Office's works, or the National Debt and State Committees, or the Auditors' supervision over the National Debt and State Works, regarding the same works' confidential matters, cannot be demanded for printing or obtained without the consent of the parties concerned. The publication of such documents from print without the consent of the parties concerned shall be subject to a fine of one hundred Riksdalers. Similarly, with the same penalty and the liability set forth in Chapter 4, Section 5 of the Penal Code, public officials are prohibited from publicly disseminating anything through print that, in accordance with the Laws and Regulations in accordance with the Constitution, requires them to keep confidential and secret.

That no ministerial documents or private notes or reports on ministerial matters, including those of diplomatic persons, pertaining to a more recent period than at least fifty years ago,


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can be demanded for printing or obtained without the Government's consent, nor can private letters, unless they are essential to a legal case, or publicly entrusted deposits of writings and documents be published or obtained without the consent of those to whom such letters or deposits pertain or belong; anyone who violates this shall be fined fifty Riksdalers.

That in any legal case, a party may indeed be allowed, before a judgment or decision has been rendered, at his own discretion, to publish pleadings, complaints, and accusations through print. However, the party who, after a judgment or decision has been rendered, publishes more than the judgment or decision, such as one of the parties' claims, statements, specific votes, or similar, shall also be obliged to include the counterclaims, counterstatements, and the votes of the other members of the court in which the case has been heard, thus everything that is deemed necessary to clarify the handling of the case and the grounds for the judgment. Nevertheless, no one shall be considered obligated to produce documents other than those that are absolutely indispensable for this purpose, and the determination thereof shall be the responsibility of the judge in whose court the case has been heard, subject to legal liability if proceedings are conducted in a manner contrary to the clear intent and provision of this Law. Anyone who violates this shall be fined fifty Riksdalers."

It shall also be the right of every party who has a matter or any other case concerning his rights, whether before the King in His Supreme Court or any other court or public institution, to have information or a so-called 'Species Facti' printed thereon, provided that he adheres to truth and propriety. Anyone who violates this shall be fined thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar.

That protocols and documents in settled criminal cases may not be published through print as long as any of the parties are alive, without their mutual consent. Anyone who violates this shall be fined thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar.

That no one may be allowed, in cases other than those specified by the Common Law and currently effective regulations, to draft, disseminate, or publish excerpts from Church records or from other documents pertaining to the care of souls and Church discipline, concerning the lives and conduct of individual


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persons, insofar as it may harm or degrade them. Anyone who violates this shall be fined thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar

That which concerns abominations, greatly offends modesty, contains blasphemy against God, or contains slanderous expressions about the current authority of the realm, or whatever, in relation to individuals not directly involved in the case, might have been included in such documents inappropriately, offensively, or disparagingly, may not be published through print under a penalty of thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar, except in cases where, as regards the latter, invoking it would be deemed necessary by the judge who last ruled on the case, for the clarification and substantiation of the main issue itself.

Furthermore, as it would become too extensive to detail all the aforementioned subjects, cases, and matters with precision, it shall be free for everyone to make publicly known through print anything that is not expressly prohibited in this Ordinance; consequently, nothing that pertains to topics allowed in this Ordinance to be published through print shall be deemed punishable under the pretext of implying criticism or reproach, unless the wording is clearly defamatory or offensive; the responsibility for which is provided for in this Ordinance.

Section 3

Under the given conditions, in the examination of a document or the responsibility for it, the judge shall always, in cases that appear ambiguous, prefer to acquit rather than convict, and when the question is about the legality of the content rather than the wording, focus attention on the clear intention of the document rather than on the manner of expression, always without the right, in any case, to draw indefinite conclusions from the expressions, which shall be considered as an abuse of Press Freedom.

1. Clear and express blasphemy against God. The offense shall be atoned for as provided in Chapter 1, Section 1 of the Criminal Code, and the document shall be confiscated.

2. Clear and express denial of a God and an afterlife or of the truth of the pure Evangelical doctrine. The offender shall


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be considered as per Chapter 1, Section 4 of the Criminal Code, and the document shall be confiscated.

3. Clear and express mockery of public worship, the Word of God, and the Sacraments. The offense shall be punished with a fine of one hundred Riksdalers, and the document shall be confiscated.

4. All kinds of offensive remarks about the reigning King's exalted person or deeds, or His Consort the Queen, or the designated successor to the Throne of the Realm. The offense shall be punished according to the Criminal Code, Chapter 5, Section 1, and the document shall be confiscated.

5. Defamatory expressions about any of the other persons from the reigning Royal Family who hold royal or princely dignity within the Realm. The offense shall be punished with a fine of one hundred Riksdalers, and the document shall be confiscated

6. Defamatory expressions about the Estates of the Realm or any of their Divisions. The offense shall be punished with a fine of one hundred Riksdalers, and the document shall be confiscated.

7. Clear incitement to mutiny or rebellion. The offense shall be punished according to Chapter 6 of the Criminal Code, and the document shall be confiscated.

8. Defamatory expressions about the state officials and civil servants of the realm in the exercise of their office. The offense shall be punished according to general law.

9. Defamatory, derogatory, and discordant judgments and statements clearly targeting foreign powers about contemporary nations and states with which the realm is in peaceful relations, their reigning authority, government and governance, high officials and ambassadors, internal or external circumstances, activities, and negotiations. The offense shall be punished with a fine of fifty Riksdalers or more, up to one hundred, and the writing shall be confiscated. If the writing is not defamatory or derogatory, but it reveals a misunderstanding with a foreign power, it may be confiscated.

10. Unauthorised publication in print of what, concerning the state's current negotiations with foreign powers or otherwise, has been determined and intended by the King in connection with them, as well as the efforts of His Ministers, Councils, and Envoys, or what can be assumed. The writing shall be confiscated. If such publication is made by someone


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entrusted with the secrets of the King and the State, the offence is punished according to Chapter 4, Section 5, of the Criminal Code, and the writing shall be confiscated.

11. Attacks against individuals, which concern their honour, or are detrimental to their civil name and reputation. The offences are punished according to Chapter 60 of the Criminal Code, and the writing shall also be confiscated.

12. False statements and twisted representations to deceive and mislead the public. The offenses shall be penalised with fines ranging from Thirty-Three Riksdalers Sixteen Skillings to Two Hundred Riksdalers.

13. Impudent desecration of morals, whether through public teachings of any gross vice, especially one that offends decency, or through such open and disgraceful representations of the practice of this vice, whereby the promotion of a corrupt way of life is clearly intended. The offense shall be penalised with fines ranging from Fifty to Two Hundred Riksdalers, and the writing shall be confiscated.

14. Light-hearted desecration of morals through indecent expressions and coarseness. The offense shall be penalised with fines of Thirty-Three Riksdalers Sixteen Skillingar, and the writing shall be confiscated.

As a general rule, concerning confiscated writings, it applies that nothing more of them may be reprinted than what the Court that last ruled on the matter did not deem criminal.


Section 4

In regard to the supervision of the lawful dissemination of writings, the following regulations shall apply:

1. The Lord Chancellor shall be responsible for overseeing the dissemination of writings both within the capital city and in other places, either personally or through duly appointed agents, in the manner and to the extent specified below. He shall also have the authority to impose a temporary ban on publications issued in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraph 3 of this section. The right to confiscate shall never belong to the Lord Chancellor.

2. To facilitate this objective, it is hereby obligatory that, at the very moment, and not later, when a


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publication is issued for sale or distribution in any manner, one copy shall be delivered to the Lord Chancellor in Stockholm and to his appointed agents in every other locality. Printers who neglect this requirement shall incur a fine of fifty Riksdalers on each occasion.

3. If the Lord Chancellor or his agents deem any publication clearly to violate Sections 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, or 13 of Section 3 of this Ordinance, it shall be incumbent upon him or his agents to place an embargo on the existing edition of the said publication within eight days. One month after the date on which the embargo is imposed in the provinces, the Lord Chancellor shall inform the agents of his approval or revocation thereof. If an embargo is not imposed in Stockholm within eight days or if the Lord Chancellor's approval is not received within the aforementioned one-month period in the provinces, the embargo may not be enforced without the judgment of a legal court and the opinion of the Freedom of the Press Committee. However, in all cases where the Lord Chancellor believes that offences against this Law have occurred, and in instances where the matter is not subject to the courts and concerns only breaches of etiquette, it shall be the responsibility of the Lord Chancellor promptly and directly to submit the publication to the proper jurisdiction of the Chancellor of Justice, whether or not an embargo has been imposed.

4. With regard to a procedural case, the following shall apply: if there is a violation of what is stipulated in Section 1, Paragraph 5, concerning the establishment of a printing press, or if a printer fails to affix his name, place of printing, and the year of publication in accordance with Section 1, Paragraph 9, it is the duty of the Lord Chancellor to investigate such matters and then immediately submit a report to the Chancellor of Justice. In addition, matters of procedure shall only pertain to economic issues that, according to the Printing and Bookselling Regulations, fall within his purview and do not lead to a violation of any provision of this Law.

5. As soon as any violation of this Law becomes known to the Chancellor of Justice, either through the Lord Chancellor's report, individual complaints, or by any other means, it is his duty to promptly initiate legal proceedings against the offender


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through an appointed prosecutor in the appropriate court. Additionally, he is personally responsible for overseeing the proper application of freedom of the press through designated agents. The Legal Ombudsman shall also be obligated to take action in cases of violations of this Ordinance in accordance with the guidelines provided in the instructions governing his handling of other cases. Only the injured party has the right to personally file charges in cases of private offenses or may do so through a representative."

6. After six months have passed from the date a publication has been definitively submitted to the Chancellor of Justice or his representative, as stated in Section 4, Paragraph 2, no public prosecutor may bring charges related to it. An individual may pursue their claim in accordance with the general law in cases where they have been personally offended by a publication. If a publication has been subjected to censorship, charges shall be filed against the publication within eight days in the capital city and within eight days in other locations from the date the Lord Chancellor of approval of the censorship becomes known. Otherwise, the censorship shall be lifted, and the sale of the publication shall proceed without hindrance.

7. Publishers of daily newspapers and weekly newspapers, who, as stated in Section 1, Paragraph 6, are solely subject to liability as authors, shall be reminded before others about the proper exercise of freedom of the press. In cases where a publisher is found guilty through such a newspaper, the penalty shall be doubled in all instances where fines are imposed.

8. Censorship or confiscation shall not apply to a larger portion of a publication than the sheet or sheets, booklet or book in relation to which the prosecution is initiated.

9. Anyone found to have sold or distributed a publication that has been lawfully confiscated or subjected to censorship shall be fined, depending on the circumstances, from one hundred to three hundred Riksdalers. Disturbance of the confiscation is separately penalized according to Chapter 8, Section 8, of the Enforcement Act.

10. Regarding the sale and distribution of publications in the Swedish language imported from abroad, the Lord Chancellor shall have the same rights and obligations as those applicable to domestically printed publications. Sellers of such publications shall be subject to the same duties and responsibilities as stipulated for printers in Section 2 of this paragraph.

11. If the Lord Chancellor finds that a foreign-authored publication in a foreign language imported from abroad contains content conflicting with


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Sections 3, 4, 7, 9, and 13 of this paragraph, it is his duty, after having placed it under temporary confiscation, respectfully to seek His Majesty the King's command regarding whether it should be released for circulation or remain under further confiscation for export.


Section 5

If a Printer violates this Freedom of the Press Ordinance, the case shall be brought before the Chamber Court, or in cities where there is no Chamber Court, before the City Hall Court in the city where the printing press from which the accused publication originated is located, or as indicated in Section 1 of this law if properly reported at the time of filing. The jurisdictions of the universities are preserved according to their constitutions. The time for summoning shall be the same in all cases, and it shall be handled as if the law regarding summoning time in the city applies, regardless of the location of the printing press. When a question arises about the indictment or participation of Authors or Publishers in a printed publication, they shall appear before such a court to answer and enjoy their legal procedural rights as per the general laws and special regulations, in all matters not expressly provided otherwise in this Ordinance.

If the Lord Chancellor or his representative find it justified, based on the grounds for confiscation of printed matter stipulated above, to order or request the confiscation of any publication, they shall have the authority to obtain such confiscation in Stockholm, with the assistance of the Office of the Chief Governor, and in other cities and localities through prompt assistance that shall not be denied by the Magistrate under whose jurisdiction the printing press is established, as stated in Section 1. A record shall be kept in triplicate regarding the progress of the confiscation and the reasons for it. In relation to the accused publication, a record shall be made of the number of copies still in the printer's possession. One copy of this record shall be sent to the Lord Chancellor or his representative, the second to the Magistrate, and the third to the printer. The Magistrate is obligated to send, as a response to allegations of official negligence, a copy of this record to the King's County Governors with the next outgoing mail,


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and it shall be their responsibility to forward it to Chancellor of Justice within the following mail delivery. In Stockholm, the same record shall be delivered to Chancellor of Justice either immediately or by the end of the following day. Subsequently, Chancellor shall, as he deems reasonable, either allow the confiscation to stand or order it to be lifted, and in either case, in Stockholm within eight days and in other localities no later than one month after the confiscation, he shall refer the matter to the appropriate court and appoint a Prosecutor. If this is not done, and if confiscation has not occurred within the mentioned ten-day period, the printer has the right, following the same procedure as was used by the Magistrate to enforce the confiscation, to demand the lifting of the confiscation, which shall not be denied, with costs borne by the office. The Lord Chancellor or his representative has no authority to request or further handle the matter other than as stated here, but must immediately refer it to the Chancellor of Justice, whose additional administrative measures and responsibilities shall cover the handling of such cases in accordance with this and general law. If a publication is immediately reported to Chancellor or Justice for trial, he shall promptly arrange for its referral to the competent court by a Prosecutor, but he may not order confiscation prior to hearing and approval by the Lord Chancellor or his representative. Once the case has come before a court of law and confiscation has been requested by the Prosecutor, the court shall promptly make a decision on this matter, but if it cannot be done within a reasonable time, the court shall solicit the opinion of the Lord Chancellor or his representative. If the request for confiscation is denied, the trial shall continue, but the decision shall not be implemented, but shall be referred to a retrial by the Court of Appeals. If the request for confiscation is approved and the Lord Chancellor or his representative has endorsed it, it shall be carried out. If they have not endorsed the confiscation, it shall not be enforced, but the trial in the principal matter shall continue. The lower court's decision regarding confiscation in both of these cases shall be promptly sent to the Supreme Court without delay. The Supreme Court shall immediately request the opinion of the Freedom of the Press Committee.


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If the Committee approves the confiscation, the Supreme Court may, if deemed reasonable, grant such confiscation, and it shall remain in effect until the conclusion of the trial. If the Committee rejects the confiscation, but the Supreme Court still finds it warranted, the decision of the Supreme Court shall not be enforced, but shall be referred to the final decision of the Supreme Court. The Justice Ombudsman of the Estates of the Realm may, upon receiving notice of such a case being referred, oversee it, and it shall be his duty promptly to send the minutes and decisions of the Supreme Court in the case to the press at public expense, in the event that a private publisher cannot be obtained.

When the lower court has completed the examination in the principal matter, it shall be immediately sent, along with its opinion on the case in those instances where the lower court's decision is to be followed according to the law, to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court shall then promptly request the opinion of the Freedom of the Press Committee to which all documents related to the case shall be submitted. The Committee's opinion, based on the reasons stated, shall include a specific statement, not only on whether prosecution for the publication of the document should proceed, but also on whether the edition should be sequestered and prohibited from further distribution. Additionally, the Committee's response shall indicate whether the disclosure of the author's name should be imposed on the printer. If the publication addresses theological matters, the Supreme Court shall also request an opinion on the subject from the Cathedral Chapter in the locality where the publication originated, and in Stockholm, from the City Consistory. Thereafter, the Supreme Court shall issue its judgment. In cases related to the disclosure of the author's name, which may only be demanded from the printer before the Supreme Court when the matter is considered extremely serious or when the printer is found to have such limited means that fines exceeding sixteen Riksdalers and thirty-two Skillingars must be converted into imprisonment, the Supreme Court shall consider that the disclosure of the author's name, which may only be demanded before the Supreme Court, shall only be recommended when the Supreme Court, following an investigation of the case, finds it to be of the utmost gravity or when the printer is deemed to have such limited means that fines exceeding sixteen Riksdalers and thirty-two Skillingars must be converted into imprisonment. If the Supreme Court's judgment differs from the opinion of the Freedom of the Press Committee, it shall not be enforced but shall be referred to the Supreme Court, and it shall proceed as previously stated regarding confiscation. If the Supreme Court's judgment agrees in all respects with the opinion of the Freedom of the Press Committee, and


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the author does not object, the judgment shall have full force and effect. Nevertheless, the author may, in any case, apply to the King and the Supreme Court for a change, and if it is not granted, request clemency from the King.

If individual persons are attacked in publications, whether one or more, and this does not occur in connection with their official duties, only the injured party may bring a lawsuit about it; nor shall the authorised public prosecutor ever take up and prosecute such matters in his indictment. However, the injured party is not prohibited from requesting assistance in the proceedings from the Chancellor of Justice if the charges are of a more serious and severe nature; and the decision on this shall rest with the Justice Chancellor himself. Nevertheless, the absence or non-appearance of such a prosecutor shall not delay the proceedings and judgment of the court. Such actions by private individuals shall be handled in all respects according to the legal procedures and regulations that govern disputes involving offensive charges between private individuals. The lower court's judgment in such cases shall not be enforced without prior referral to the Supreme Court as soon as the accused is considered to be subject to the penalty of corporal punishment or if he is sentenced to a fine and cost compensation of one hundred Riksdalers or more. Confiscation may be imposed by the lower court in such private disputes. If the lower court imposes such confiscation or if, during the proceedings, it deems it necessary to confiscate the publication, it shall immediately refer the case, insofar as it concerns this charge, so that the matter regarding both the trial, confiscation, and any further action, shall be as previously stated.

If a bookseller or any other person is accused of selling or distributing printed publications, the same provisions shall apply as stated above regarding printers; however, in such cases, the accused should be prosecuted where he resides or has his domicile, or where the offense occurred, depending on what the Chancellor of the Realm, the Chancellor of Justice, or their deputies, who have the sole authority to bring charges in such cases, find to be the most suitable.


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In cases of confiscation, the King's Governors and the respective Magistrates must provide assistance without delay and with responsibility in such matters; however, no confiscation may be requested from booksellers or other sellers for any publication unless it can be proven through evidence that the publication has been confiscated at the place of printing. Furthermore, the aforementioned individuals cannot be prosecuted for the content of any publication.

If any publication originating in this realm or imported into the kingdom from abroad is reported by one or more foreign diplomats or their governments as containing subjects that could lead to dissatisfaction with other powers, the King may, as he deems necessary in grace, ordain about it based on the nature and circumstances of the matter. He may, if he deems it necessary, through His Chancellor or Chancellor of Justice, take measures for the sequestration and confiscation of the publication, both from the printers and sellers or other distributors, in the manner provided earlier regarding confiscation. In all such cases, the official, who receives the King's gracious command regarding the execution, must promptly and without delay obtain the opinion of the Committee on Freedom of the Press concerning the publication in question.

If the Committee, which is not allowed to engage in any examination of political considerations and relationships, finds that the publication cannot be prosecuted according to the letter of the law, then no legal proceedings may be brought against either the printer or the author. However, for the distribution, the person who violates the prohibition shall be held accountable, in accordance with Section 4, paragraph 9. The King's gracious judgment shall determine whether the publisher or printer, in such a case, shall receive any compensation from the state funds for the cost of printing and paper of what has been confiscated from the edition."

If the unexpected event occurs that the Committee on Freedom of the Press is placed on trial, the case shall be taken up and decided by the Swedish Supreme Court upon the application of the Advocate General there. The judgment shall, immediately after pronouncement, be published at public expense, along with all related records and documents, for the


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information of the public. If the matter comes to the King's Supreme Court, the same procedure shall apply. The person appointed by the Estates of the Realm to succeed the Attorney General in office shall be obliged to perform the duties of his office on such occasions, arrange for the printing of the court records, and preside over the proceedings before the Supreme Court.

All cases concerning violations of this Ordinance shall be decided with the greatest expediency, and in all instances where questions could arise about the punishment for different crimes, they shall be treated separately. Likewise, the offender, in all cases where he has not already incurred the death penalty or life imprisonment, shall undergo the punishment specified by this Ordinance for his offence.

Fines under this Law may not be converted into any other punishment except imprisonment in a fortress, calculated at sixteen Riksdalers thirty-two Skillingars per month, with each month counted as twenty-eight days. Fines below the aforementioned amount equate to fourteen days' imprisonment in the locality where the offence occurred.

Fines under this Law shall be divided equally between the Prosecutor and the nearest institution for the Poor, except in cases where fines, according to the provisions stated above, accrue solely to the Complainant.

For further assurance, we have confirmed and ratified this with Our Names and Seals, done in Stockholm on the ninth day of the month of March in the year of Our Lord eighteen hundred and ten.

On behalf of the Knights and the Nobility,
M. Anckarsvärd.
Acting Lord Marshal.

On behalf of the Clergy Estate,
Jac. Ax. Lindblom.

On behalf of the Burgher Estate,
H.N. Schwan.
Acting Speaker.

On behalf of the Peasant Estate,
Lars Olsson.
Acting Speaker.


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All that is prescribed, we not only choose to accept for ourselves as an inviolable constitution, but we also command and enjoin in Grace that all those who are bound to Us and Our Successors, as well as to the Realm, with loyalty, obedience, and submission, shall acknowledge, observe, follow, and obey this Freedom of the Press Ordinance. To make this certain, We have signed and confirmed it with Our Own Hand, and have caused Our Royal Seal to be duly appended below, done in Our Residence City of Stockholm on the ninth day of March in the year after the Birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ eighteen hundred and ten.


[Signature of King Carl XIII]



Translation by: Paul Lambert [E-Lango]


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