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Swedish Freedom of the Press Ordinance, Stockholm (1812)

Source: Kongl. Maj:ts Och Riksens Stånders Faststälde Tryckfrihets-Forordning; Dat. Örebro den 16. Julii 1812. Cum Gratia & Privilegio S:æ R:æ Maj:tis. Stockholm, Tryckt i Kongl. Tryckeriet, 1812.

Swedish Freedom of the Press Ordinance, Stockholm (1812), Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org

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Chapter 1 Page 1

The Established Freedom of the Press Ordinance of His Majesty the King and the Estates of the Realm.

Dated Örebro, 16 July 1812.


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We, CARL, by the Grace of God, King of Sweden, Goths, and Vandals, etc. etc. etc.

Inheritor of Norway, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, Stormarn, and Ditmarschen, Count of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, etc. etc. Be it known that since the Estates of the Realm, now assembled, have unanimously resolved to, in certain respects, amend the existing Freedom of the Press Ordinance of 9 March  1810, and this thus amended law has been submitted for Our Gracious approval. We, by virtue of the right granted to Us according to Section 85 of the Instrument of Government, have seen fit to adopt, approve, and confirm this Freedom of the Press Ordinance, consented to by the Estates of the Realm, in its entirety, word for word, as it follows below:


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We obligate all those on whom a lawful examination of offenses in public print may fall, to be the lawful defence and protection of the innocent. We have, in order to secure Freedom of the Press in a manner consistent with the demands of a Civil Society and the legitimate claims of every Citizen, desired to decree and ordain the following:

Section 1

1. All previously existing laws, provisions, and regulations concerning Freedom of the Press or Bookselling are hereby repealed, and as a consequence, all previous specific prohibitions on the publication of certain books, writings, and documents are also annulled; these may not be prosecuted except as prescribed by this Freedom of the Press Ordinance."

"The term 'writing,' as used in this Ordinance, shall mean everything that is presented to the public through print. By 'periodical writing,' it is meant something that is issued in numerical sequence or at specified intervals.


2. No prior examination of a writing before printing, or any prohibition against its printing, shall take place. No writing shall be required to be submitted to the printer, publisher, or author before its publication, nor shall any obstructive inspection over printing offices or authors and publishers be permitted; however, educational institutions shall retain their previous rights to review and approve such writings that are to be publicly defended in their lecture halls.


3. No privileges for the publication of writings, regardless of their form and nature, shall be required henceforth. Instead, the right to publish from the press shall be free for every author or publisher, without any exceptions, although others’ previously obtained exclusive rights shall remain intact. Such exclusive rights shall not be granted henceforth for a longer period than twenty years. For those already granted for an indefinite period, they shall only be valid for the lifetime of the recipient. Privileges for the publication of writings granted to support public institutions shall not be valid for a longer period than


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twenty years from the date of this Law, but His Majesty the King retains the right to renew them for a maximum of twenty years each time.


4. Publishers of newspapers or periodical writings shall register themselves, along with the title and place of publication, with the Lord Chancellor, who has the authority to issue a certificate, provided that the applicant has not been convicted of a heinous crime or declared unfit to represent others in legal matters, confirming that no obstacle exists to the publication of the writing.


5. Privileges for printing offices shall not be required; everyone is free to establish printing offices of any kind or size they find suitable in a city or within a distance not exceeding half a mile from it, without being subject to any specific regulations, older privileges, or any printers' guild ordinances.

When a printing office is established outside the city in this manner, in all matters related to printing, the printer, workers in the printing office, and the authors and publishers of printed works shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the city.


If a new printing office is established, it is required that, at least thirty days before any publication is issued from it, the printer shall notify in writing both the Magistrate of the city where the printing office is established and the Royal Governor under whose jurisdiction or office the city falls, stating that he has established a printing office and where it is located. If anyone neglects to do so, they shall be fined one hundred Riksdaler, and their offense shall be announced in the newspapers. If, from a printing office not properly reported in the manner prescribed, any illegal publication is issued, the unlawful printer, along with the author, shall be subject to the same penalties and responsibility for the content and printing of the publication, and their printing office shall be forfeited to the prosecutor. Once the establishment of a printing office has been reported to the King's Governor, it is his duty to inform the Lord Chancellor immediately or at the latest with the next post.


6. Authors are not obliged to have their names printed on their published works. Whether they wish to remain anonymous or not, it is their duty to provide the printer with a sealed note containing their name and place of residence, along with a certification of the accuracy of this information. This certification must be signed by two well-known Swedish citizens residing within Sweden. These individuals shall be held responsible if the author's name and place of residence are found to be incorrectly stated, missing from the note, or if the author, without due cause, fails to respond to the legal proceedings within the stipulated time, should the publication be subject to prosecution. If a printer reveals an author's name and place of residence without being legally ordered to do so by the judge, they shall be fined two hundred Riksdaler, and their offense shall be announced in the newspapers.


7. The one who publishes a foreigner's work or a translation thereof, or the work of a domestic author who has not provided their name, shall have the same rights, obligations, and responsibilities as an author, in all cases where this Law does not stipulate otherwise. Publishers of newspapers and periodical publications shall always, with regard to their responsibilities, be considered as authors, and it is their duty, under equal liability, to ensure that the conditions further stipulated in this Law for their publication are strictly observed.


8. At the commencement of the trial, the printer is obligated to submit the author's sealed statement to the Court. Otherwise, he shall be held liable alongside the author, unless the author voluntarily discloses himself to the Judge. In cases concerning newspapers or periodical publications, the name of the publisher is provided by the Lord Chancellor, in accordance with the aforementioned notification. The Judge may immediately, upon the submission of the name statement, open it and thereby reveal the true party to the Court.

If, at the conclusion of the trial, the Judge determines that the prosecutor has initiated the proceedings in an unnecessary case, resulting in the breaking of the name statement, the prosecutor shall be liable to a fine of One Hundred Riksdalers.

If a Printer, without the Author's or Publisher's knowledge, has affixed their name to a publication, they shall be punished in accordance with Chapter 8, Section 3 of the Criminal Code.


9. Every publication is the property of the author or their legally authorized possessor. Anyone who prints or reprints a publication


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without the written consent of the author or publisher shall forfeit the entire edition or pay its full value to the owner.

The same law applies if someone prints or reprints the translation of a foreign work that another person has produced, or allows their translation to be considered as someone else's. However, the translator's ownership rights to their work shall not prevent anyone else from publishing another translation of the same work.

The publisher of newspapers and periodical writings has not violated the author's ownership rights if they publish anonymous writings in them. Anyone who fraudulently puts a misleading title page or an incorrect author's or publisher's name on a publication shall be punished according to Chapter 8 of the Criminal Code. A fictitious name that does not refer to any real person shall not be prohibited from being placed on the title page when the author's true name has been submitted.


10. On every publication, the printer's name, place of printing, and the year shall be stated. If a printer neglects to do so, he shall be fined three hundred Riksdalers for the first offense, six hundred Riksdalers for the second offense, and, if it happens for the third time, he shall forfeit his printing establishment. If anyone falsely puts a printer's name or incorrect place of printing on a printed publication, he shall also be subject to the provisions of Chapter 8, Section 3, of the Criminal Code. However, the requirement for stating the printer's name, place of printing, and the year does not apply to notifications, letters of condolence, forms, conditional notes, and similar documents.


11. From everything that is printed, the printer shall be obligated to remove and deliver, free of charge, as many copies as the Lord Chancellor, the universities under the jurisdiction of the kingdom, the Royal Library, the National Archives, and the Royal Swedish Academy each receive. If a work is accompanied by expensive plates, such plates must be provided only to the Royal Library unconditionally.


12. No obstacle shall be placed in the way of engaging in bookselling or the sale of any publication, whether domestic or foreign. Every author or publisher shall be free to sell any work belonging to them, whether directly or through others. However, anyone wishing to engage in bookselling or sell books, either through an open shop or otherwise, with the right to announce it in public newspapers, shall be required, as provided for in the regulation on the establishment of printing houses, to make a declaration to that effect to the Lord Chancellor, with the same liability. For the continued sale of a publication, there shall be no other obstacles than those specified in Section 4 of this Act.


Section 2.

1. In accordance with the foundations laid down above for general and lawful freedom of the press, in accordance with the reservations laid down in Section 3 below, every author shall be free to publish his thoughts on everything that is or can become the subject of human knowledge through the press.

2. For every subject, the choice of writing shall be at the discretion of each author, subject to the responsibility set out below if it is characterized as scandalous or defamatory.

3. In accordance with what is provided in Sections 1, 3, 4, and 9 of Article 1, every author or publisher shall be permitted, subject only to the condition of the sanctity of others' property rights, to disseminate writings of any form, width, or nature whatsoever.

4. Based on what is provided in paragraph 1 of this section, it shall also be expressly permitted, subject to the exceptions and conditions set forth below, in order to further ensure the publisher's compliance, for anyone to publish in general print all legal proceedings and other public matters concerning documents, protocols, and decisions, of whatever name and nature they may be, whether they pertain to the past or to cases that may arise in the future. This applies regardless of the nature of the cases, whether civil, criminal, economic, military, or ecclesiastical, and whether they are before the Supreme Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, the Lower Judicial Review Board, the Public Administration Board, the Higher and Lower Courts, colleges, committees, boards, directorates, commissions, execution courts, or other public works, without discrimination.


Furthermore, this permission extends to all previous, current, or future instructions, constitutions, regulations,


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statutes, ordinances, privileges, edicts, and general provisions, regardless of their origin. It also includes all the higher and lower courts, colleges, government offices, public corporations, and all officers' and officials' correspondence, memorials, and official letters.


Finally, it applies to all societies' and organizations' memorials, applications, proposals, reports, complaints, as well as their responses and resolutions. In this regard, not only should all such documents be immediately and without delay handed over to anyone who requests them, whether or not they have any interest in the matter, with the same liability for neglecting the service. If any public servant refuses or unduly delays such documents, but also, under the same liability, everyone should be given free access to all archives to copy documents on-site or allow them to be copied. If significant obstacles are encountered in this process, certified copies should be provided upon reasonable payment, or they should be obtained with proper compensation, for documents of any subject matter.

The following exceptions shall be strictly observed in accordance with the previous permission:

That protocols held by the King in ministerial matters and command cases, or the State Council's protocols and documents, or those of the Estates, or the Secret Committee, or the Constitutional Committee concerning the State Council, or the Bank and National Debt Works, or the Bank and State Committees, or Auditors concerning the Bank and National Debt Works, regarding the secret matters of the same Works, cannot be demanded for printing or obtained without the consent of the concerned parties. If such documents are published without the consent of the parties involved, the publisher shall be punished according to general law and specific regulations if he has been entrusted with their custody and obligated to keep them secret. If someone else does this, he shall be fined One Hundred Riksdalers or more depending on the nature of the offense. The same punishment shall apply to anyone who unlawfully publishes the aforementioned documents through the press, in cases where the custody of them has been entrusted to him but he has not been previously prohibited from revealing them under a higher penalty.


That no ministerial documents or private notes or reports of diplomatic persons on ministerial matters pertaining to a later period than at least fifty years ago, may be disseminated without the Government's consent, nor private letters unless they are necessary for a legal case, nor deposits of writings and documents entrusted to public care without the consent of those to whom the said letters or deposits concern or belong, may be published or obtained. Anyone who violates this shall be fined fifty Riksdalers.

In any legal case whatsoever, a party shall be allowed to publish, at their own discretion, before a judgment or verdict has been reached, their pleadings, complaints, and accusations through print. However, such a party is also obliged to allow the opposing party to make public, through print, their response, as well as the court's opinion thereon and the separate votes of the members of the court, so that everything concerning a complete elucidation of the case itself, its handling, and the grounds for the verdict may come to the knowledge of the public. Nevertheless, no one shall be considered obligated to release other documents than those absolutely indispensable for this purpose, and the assessment thereof shall rest with the judge before whom the case was pending, under legal liability if it is handled otherwise than in accordance with the clear intent and provisions of this Law. Anyone who violates this shall be fined fifty Riksdalers.

It shall also be free for anyone who has a case or any other matter concerning their rights pending, whether before His Majesty in His Highest Court or any other court or public institution, to have information about it printed or to obtain a species facti, provided that they adhere to truth and decency. 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 without the mutual consent of the parties, or, if the parties are deceased, not until 50 years after their death. Anyone who violates this shall be fined thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar.


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That no one may be allowed, except in cases specified by the general law and current regulations, to issue, provide, or release to print extracts from church records or from other documents concerning matters of individual persons' faith and conduct, insofar as they concern harm or disparagement to them. Anyone who violates this shall be fined thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar.

That what concerns indecencies, or grievously wounds modesty, or contains blasphemies against God, or obscene expressions about the reigning authority of the state, or anything concerning individuals not directly involved in a case, which could have been included untimely, offensive, or derogatory, shall not be published in them through print, under penalty of thirty-three Riksdalers and sixteen Skillingar. What concerns the last case, if invoked, must be deemed necessary for examination and substantiation of the main matter by the judge who last ruled in the case.

In addition, and as it would become too extensive to set out all possible subjects, cases, and matters with precision, it shall be free for everyone to make publicly known in print anything that is not expressly prohibited by this law. Consequently, nothing that pertains to subjects allowed by this law to be printed, mentioned, or otherwise presented for scrutiny or reflection in the light of day shall be deemed punishable under the pretext of implying criticism or censure, as long as the responsibility for which is stipulated in this law.


Section 3

Under the stipulated conditions, in the examination of a writing or the responsibility for it, those responsible for such examination, in cases that appear ambiguous, must always give more weight to the older than to the recent, and always to the subject and thought rather than to the expression's illegality, to the intention of the writing rather than to the manner of presentation, and always without the right, in any case, to draw indefinite conclusions from the expressions, shall be considered as an abuse of Freedom of the Press.

1. Blasphemy against God. The offense shall be punished as stipulated in Chapter 1, Section 1 of the Criminal Code, General Law, and the writing shall be confiscated.

2. Denial of a God and an afterlife, or of the pure Evangelical Doctrine. The offender shall be considered as stipulated in Chapter 1, Section 4 of the Criminal Code, and the writing shall be confiscated.

3. Mocking of the Public Worship, God's word, and the Sacraments. The offense shall be punished with a fine of One Hundred Riksdalers, and the writing shall be confiscated.

4. All kinds of offensive expressions about the reigning King's High Person or actions, or His Consort, the Queen, or the designated Throne Successor of the Realm; The offense shall be punished according to Chapter 5, Section 1 of the Criminal Code, and the writing shall be confiscated.

5. Derogatory expressions against any of the other persons of the reigning Royal House who hold Royal or Princely dignity within the Realm; The offense shall be punished with a fine of One Hundred Riksdalers, and the writing shall be confiscated."

6. Derogatory 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 writing shall be confiscated.

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

8. Defamatory expressions about the officials and servants of the State in the exercise of their official duties. The offense shall be punished according to the general law.

9. Defamatory, offensive, or discordant expressions about foreign Powers with which the State is in peaceful relations, concerning their Sovereigns, Government, mode of Government, High Officials and Ambassadors, internal or external relations, enterprises, or negotiations. The offense shall be punished according to the 6th Chapter, § 5, of the Criminal Code, compared with the Royal Ordinance of January 20, 1779. If the writing is not defamatory or offensive but through it any misunderstanding with a foreign Power is revealed, it may be confiscated without a trial.

10. All publication in print, concerning the State's ongoing negotiations with foreign Powers,


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or concerning any of the King's intentions and resolutions in connection with them, or the works of His Ministers, Councils, and Envoys, if it is not done with the Government's permission or with official authorization. The offense is punished in the same manner as stated in the previous Clause. If such publication is made by one who is entrusted with the secrets of the King and the State, the offense is punished according to Chapter 4, § 5, of the Criminal Code, and, in both cases, the writing is confiscated.

11. Attacks against private individuals, which concern their honour or are derogatory to their civil names and reputations. The offense is punished according to Chapter 60 of the Criminal Code, and, additionally, the writing shall be confiscated.

12. False information and distorted presentations, for the deception and misleading of the public. The offenses are punished with fines ranging from 33 Riksdalers 16 Skillings to 100 Riksdalers or corresponding corporal punishment, depending on the nature of the offense, with the fines converted according to Section 5, Paragraph 9 of this Law, and the writing shall be confiscated.

13. The profanation of morals, whether through public teachings about any vice, especially those that offend modesty, or such undisguised and shameful representations of the exercise of this vice, through which the promotion of a debauched way of life is implied. The offense shall be punished with fines ranging from 50 to 100 Riksdalers, and the writing shall be confiscated.

            As a general rule, regarding confiscated writings, it applies that nothing more of them may be reissued in print than what the court, which last ruled on the matter, did not deem criminal.


Section 4

Regarding the supervision of the lawful dissemination of writings, the following provisions shall apply:

1. The Lord Chancellor shall be responsible for overseeing the dissemination of writings both within the capital city and in other localities, either personally or through duly appointed representatives, in accordance with the manner and provisions outlined below.

2. To facilitate this purpose, it is hereby prescribed, without exception, that as soon as a writing is issued for sale or for distribution in any manner, a copy shall be delivered to the Lord Chancellor in Stockholm and, in every other locality, to his designated agents. Printers who neglect this requirement shall be fined fifty Riksdalers each time, and if they print such works without having obtained proof of notification from the Lord Chancellor via a newspaper or periodical, they shall be fined one hundred Riksdalers, and the publication of the writing shall cease until its issuers have complied with what is stipulated above regarding this matter.

3. In all cases stipulated in Section 3, the Lord Chancellor or his agents have the right, when they deem it necessary, to impose a temporary ban on a publication, which must be implemented within eight days. One month after the day on which the ban was imposed in localities, the Lord Chancellor shall either approve or revoke it, with the latter requiring a justified reason. If a ban is not imposed within eight days in Stockholm or if the Lord Chancellor's approval is not received within one month in localities, a ban may not apply without the opinion of a legal court and the Freedom of the Press Committee. However, in all cases where the Lord Chancellor believes that violations of this Law have occurred, whether it concerns only matters of order under his own judgment or personal offenses, he is required, regardless of whether a ban has been imposed or not, to immediately transfer the publication to the legal action of the Chancellor of Justice.

4. Matters of order include cases where, during the establishment of a printing house, one neglects to, according to Section 1, Paragraph 10, provide their name, the place of printing, and the year on the publication, or if they do not submit a publication printed by them to the Lord Chancellor or his agents within the specified time. In these cases, the Lord Chancellor has the authority to promptly issue a penalty against the offender, who still has the option, if they


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consider themselves justified, to lodge a submission with the King, in the Chancellor of Justice's Revision Office, within 15 days in Stockholm and within one month in localities, after receiving the decision from the Lord Chancellor. Otherwise, matters of order refer only to economic matters that may come under the Lord Chancellor's jurisdiction according to future regulations for printing houses and bookstores and do not contravene any provision in this Law.

5. As soon as any violation of this Law has been reported to the Lord Chancellor by the Chancellor of Justice, it is the duty of the latter to promptly prosecute the offense through a duly appointed legal representative in the appropriate court. Furthermore, he should, on his own part, exercise proper supervision over the lawful use of freedom of the press through the respective agents. Likewise, the Ombudsman of Justice has a duty to provide his official action regarding offenses against this Law in accordance with the principles stipulated in the instructions regarding his involvement in other cases. In the case of personal offenses, the aggrieved party has the right to bring a prosecution themselves or through a representative.

6. Once six months have passed after a writing has been submitted to the Lord Chancellor or his agents according to the preceding 2nd paragraph, and an official certificate has been promptly issued, public prosecutors shall not bring charges regarding the matter. An individual has the right, in accordance with common law, to pursue their case in lawsuits in which they have been personally offended by the publication. If a publication has been subject to quarantine, prosecution shall be initiated against the publication within eight days in the capital city and, in other locations, eight days after the quarantine has been approved by the Lord Chancellor; otherwise, the quarantine ceases, and the publication's sale proceeds unobstructed.

7. Publishers of daily newspapers and periodical publications, which, as stated in Section 1, Paragraph 7, are solely subject to the author's responsibility, even before others are reminded of the correct use of freedom of the press, and if the publisher's offense is remedied through such a publication, the fine shall be doubled in all cases where fines are imposed with money.

8. If the Lord Chancellor deems a daily newspaper or periodical publication to be moderate for public safety or offensive to personal rights without reason and evidence, or of a persistently defamatory nature, he may immediately cease the further publication of the newspaper or periodical in Stockholm through the Office of the High Steward and in the provinces through the King's Governor, until, after a humble report to His Majesty, which should take place within eight days after the Lord Chancellor has been informed of the suspension, and after the Lord Chancellor has also been heard, His Majesty's gracious ordinance decides whether the continuation of the suspended publication should be allowed. It is incumbent upon His Majesty in the Council of State to decide whether the publisher of a newspaper or periodical publication that has been thus withdrawn may publish any other newspaper or periodical publication in the future.

9. Censorship or confiscation shall not apply to a larger part of a publication than the sheet, half-sheet, or volume upon which the charge is made.

10. Anyone found to have sold or distributed a publication that has been legally censored or confiscated, in all cases where they had knowledge of the censorship or should have had such knowledge, shall be subject to the same penalties as the author and shall be liable for the offense under the same grounds. Disruption of censorship, where no subsequent sale or distribution has occurred, shall be punishable under the provisions of Chapter 8, Section 9 of the Enforcement Code.

11. With regard to the sale and distribution of publications that have come from abroad in the Swedish language, the Lord Chancellor shall have the same rights and responsibilities as with publications printed within the realm, and the vendors of such publications shall be subject to the same duty and liability as stipulated in the second paragraph of this section for printers.

12. If the Lord Chancellor finds that a publication authored in a foreign language and imported from abroad contains something contrary to Sections 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, and 13 of this section, it shall be his duty to leave it under further embargo. For this purpose, anyone authorized to engage in the book trade through notification to the Lord Chancellor shall be obliged to submit a list of imported foreign publications to the Lord Chancellor or his representatives.


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but shall be submitted to the decision of the Supreme Court. The Attorney General of the Estates of the Realm shall be present when such a case for deliberation arises, and it shall be his duty, upon receiving information, to expedite the proceedings to print, at public expense, in the event that a private publisher is not available.

3. In the case of offenses against this Law, they shall be brought before the Lower Court, but the Judge shall submit his decision to the review of the High Court, as stipulated in Chapter 25, Section 5 of the Code of Procedure. However, in all cases, the documents in cases concerning Freedom of the Press shall be sent from the Lower Court to the High Court for review.

4. If the accused writing, upon the prosecutor's request, is found to have such a minor criminal nature that it should result in absolute discharge, and the author of the writing belongs to a class such that, according to the law and regulations, he can only be judged for such a crime in the High Court, then the matter shall be referred to the High Court's proceedings when the name seal is opened in the Lower Court. Thereafter, the case shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of this Freedom of the Press Act.

5. If individuals are attacked in writings that have been published, whether one or several, and this is not done in the course of their official duties, only the aggrieved party may bring a complaint. A publicly appointed prosecutor may never take up such a case in his complaint. However, the aggrieved party is not prevented from requesting assistance in the legal proceedings from the Crown's representative at the Office of Justice, and the latter may grant such assistance upon review. However, the absence or non-appearance of such a prosecutor shall not delay the progress and decision of the case in court. The prosecution of such cases involving private individuals shall be conducted in all respects according to the legal procedures prescribed by this law and common law. However, the lower court judge, in such private disputes, may raise questions of jurisdiction with the Superior Court without seeking the opinion of the Lord Chancellor or his representatives, in which case the ban shall not be enforced.

6. In matters concerning confiscation, the King's representatives and the respective magistrates shall provide assistance promptly and under responsibility. However, a request for confiscation of any publication within the kingdom may not be made without proof that the publication has been confiscated at the place of printing, or, in cases where the publication has not been submitted to the Lord Chancellor or his representatives as required by Section 4, Paragraph 2.

7. If any publication printed here or imported into the realm from abroad is reported by the ambassadors of one or more foreign states or their governments as containing matter that may lead to dissatisfaction among other powers, it shall be within the King's discretion, depending on the nature and circumstances of the case, to issue an order, and if necessary, to order the sequestration and confiscation of the publication, through the Lord Chancellor or the Chancellor of Justice, against both the printers and sellers or other distributors, in accordance with the provisions regarding confiscation as stated above. In cases where the aforementioned officials, who are entrusted with the matter by virtue of receiving the King's gracious command, do not refer the publication for prosecution by an attorney before the appropriate court, the said official shall immediately and without delay request an opinion from the Committee on Freedom of the Press regarding the publication in question. If the Committee, which has no authority to assess political considerations and circumstances, finds that the publication cannot be prosecuted under the letter of the law, it shall be subject to the King's gracious decision as to whether the publisher or printer, in that case, may be entitled to any compensation from state funds for the expenses incurred for printing and paper of what has been confiscated from the edition.

8. If the unexpected event occurs that the Committee on Freedom of the Press is put on trial due to Section 108 of the Constitution, the case shall be taken up and decided by the Supreme Court of Sweden, upon the request of the Advocate General there. The judgment shall be immediately published after its pronouncement, at the expense of the public, through printing, including all relevant records and documents, for the public's knowledge. If the matter comes before the King's Supreme Court, the same procedure shall be followed.


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The individual appointed by the Estates of the Realm [Kirkens Ständer] to succeed the Chancellor of Justice shall, in such a case, be obliged to perform the duties of his office, arrange for the printing of the legal proceedings, and participate in the deliberations of the case before the Supreme Court.

9. All cases concerning offenses against this Law shall be decided with the utmost expediency, and in all situations where questions could arise about the punishment for different crimes, they shall be treated separately. The offender, in all cases where he has not already been sentenced to death  or to life imprisonment, shall separately undergo the punishment he has incurred according to this Law.

Fines under this Law may not be converted into any other punishment than imprisonment, calculated at sixteen Riksdaler thirty-two Skillingar, equivalent to each month of imprisonment, with a month counted as twenty-eight days. Fines below the aforementioned sum correspond to fourteen days of imprisonment in the locality where the offense occurred.

10. Fines under this Law shall be equally divided between the prosecutor and the nearest institution for the poor, except in cases where fines, as stipulated above, shall solely benefit the complainant.


Further to confirm, We have ratified and confirmed this with Our Name and Seal, done in Örebro on the sixteenth day of the month of July, in the Year of Our Lord eighteen hundred and twelve.


All that is prescribed in this document, We not only accept as the fundamental law but also order and command, in Our Grace, that all those who are bound by loyalty and obedience to Us and Our Successors, as well as to the Realm, shall acknowledge, observe, follow, and obey this Freedom of the Press Ordinance. To further confirm this, We have signed and ratified it with Our Own hand, and have had Our Royal Seal affixed below, done in Örebro on the sixteenth day of the month of July in the Year after the Birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, eighteen hundred and twelve.



Translation by: Paul Lambert [E-Lango]


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