Sweden changes its constitution and its ideals

Sweden has made a worrying change to its constitution, making it illegal to release information that could be ‘damaging’ to the country’s relations with other countries or organisations

We, the people of Sweden, were promised that applying for NATO membership would never impact our democracy. Nothing would change, no laws broken, no human rights violated and Sweden would keep its long tradition of being a force for peace and solidarity. This was what we were told by the political left and right. A couple of months after the submission, nothing can be further from the truth.

The Swedish constitution has changed. On November 17, the parliament voted in favour of changing its constitution to ‘protect’ us from espionage. Funnily enough, just recently, multiple individuals have been charged with espionage, so apparently it was already illegal before. So what does the new change do? Well, it makes it illegal to release information that could be ‘damaging’ to Sweden’s relations with other countries or organisations.

And how does this protect us? That question was asked by one of Sweden’s most renowned journalists to a representative of the parliament. She had no answer.

So why did this happen? Is this a coincidence that the major parties need to fill a gap in the legislation? Or is this part of something bigger?

Lawmakers who disagree say this is to convince other countries, foreign powers, that they can count on Sweden to deal with any potential leaks, or whistleblowers that may make life difficult for human rights abusers. Otherwise there’d be no reason to conceal this information. It is cowardly and shows a trend to walk the line of expediency instead of calling out abusers, even if they are our allies or much more powerful than we are. We have a history in Sweden of condemning atrocities. This is a step away from this tradition.

Why is it then necessary to have a law that criminalises actions that might “damage” Sweden’s relationship with other countries? On May 16, Sweden applied to join NATO. Since then we have worked hard to get people like Erdogan and Orbán to let Sweden join the club. Erdogan wants us to give him a number of people whom he classifies as terrorists. Many of these people are journalists. It is worth reminding that Turkey is one of the countries with the highest number of jailed journalists.

In the eyes of DiEM25 Stockholm there is no doubt that Sweden’s application to join NATO has been the catalyst to many morally abhorrent, or at least highly questionable, decisions and now it is clear that the foundations of the Swedish states are being altered to fit the needs and wants of authoritarian member states. This is an early Christmas gift for Erdogan. And you who want us to join NATO, is this how you want us to go about it?

What will change? What can be said for certain is that potential whistleblowers need even more courage to give us, the people, the information we should have.



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