Sweden: Lessons for America? – Freedom of the Press

I’m here at Aftonbladet. This was the first modern Swedish newspaper, and a bastion of Swedish laissez-faire liberalism. It was the first publication to attack not just abuses of power, but political power itself. I am here to talk with Sofia Olsson Olsén, the publisher of Aftonbladet. Take a look here. This is a room full of history. Yeah, isn’t it? And this is the first copy, the first issue of Aftonbladet. You can see it was published in December 1830. Oh, that’s fantastic. We just took it down from the wall to show you. Aftonbladet was founded by Lars Johan Hierta. We had free press in Sweden, but it was not fully developed. So Lars Hierta was the person who really pushed the free press forward. And he was a very brave man, I would say, because it was dangerous at that time. And this is the bust of Lars Johan Hierta, as well. He looks very serious. Yeah. He was a serious man. And he’s looking straight into your office. Yeah, all the time. And I also wear him here, close to my heart. By the mid-19th century, Sweden’s literacy rate was 75 percent, one of the highest in the world. The growing middle class could now read first-hand stories about urban overcrowding and rural poverty. The authorities didn’t like Aftonbladet, of course, because it was challenging the power. And at that time, most of the decisions was happening in the bedroom of the king, because it was an honor to get to the king’s bedroom so it was very, very close. And the only news you could get was from the priests and from the king. Though Lars Hierta was challenging the power, then he really took the power from the bedroom and gave it to the people because they got information; you know information is power.

1 thought on “Sweden: Lessons for America? – Freedom of the Press

  • And today, Swedish MSM shuts down and silences any news that shows mass immigration in a realistic or negative light. Horrific stories and events are censored because they are afraid telling the people what's really going on will make them 'xenophobic'.

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