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Foreign espionage to be criminalised and introduced as an offence against the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression (KU7)

Published: 16 November 2022 at 16.21

The Riksdag has voted in favour of the Government's proposal on legislative amendments and amendments to the Constitution. The amendments to the Constitution are a constitutional matter which have been held in abeyance, which means that the Riksdag has taken a decision on the matter on a previous occasion.

One of the effects of the proposed legislation will be that foreign espionage, gross foreign espionage and gross unauthorised dealing with secret information linked to foreign espionage will be criminalised and introduced into the Swedish Penal Code.

The Riksdag has also voted in favour of the proposal, previously held in abeyance, on amendments to the two fundamental laws the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on the Freedom of Expression. One of the effects of the amendments will be that foreign espionage and the forms of unauthorised dealing with secret information and negligence when handling secret information which are linked with foreign espionage shall also be criminalised as an offence against the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression.

The legislative amendments will also entail limitations to the freedom of communication and the immunity from liability of sources, in other words the right to communicate or procure information for publication in forms of media protected by the Constitution.

Since certain parts of the proposal apply to amendments to fundamental laws which are part of the Constitution, the Riksdag is required to vote in the same way twice and there has to be an election between the votes. The first decision on the proposal was taken on 6 April 2022, and then the Riksdag voted yes. There has been a general election since then.

The amendments will come into force on 1 January 2023.