Press Release: Joint statement from the Media Publishers Association about China

The Chinese Government is continuing to attack independent journalists, Swedish media companies and publishers. Following the recent attempts to hamper a free media, Utgivarna, the Media Publishers Association in Sweden, now requests that the Swedish government acts, together with the EU, to protest in the strongest terms possible against China’s attempts to influence the freedom of the press.

Utgivarna is an association of Swedish publishers with major media companies and organisations such as the Press Publishers Association, Magazines Publishers Association, TV4, Sveriges Radio, Sveriges Television and UR.

Time and again, China’s ambassador, Gui Congyou, has tried to undermine the freedom of the press and the freedom of expression under the Swedish Constitution, with false statements and threats. Publications have been criticized, media companies have been accused of being biased against China and individual journalists have been singled out. Visa processes to China have been held up and the embassy has exerted pressure in interviews, emails and conversations with representatives of Swedish media to influence the content of our respective media. It is unacceptable that the world’s largest dictatorship is trying to prevent free and independent journalism in a democracy like Sweden. These repeated attacks must cease immediately.

China’s embassy has described Swedish freedom of the press and expression as “media tyranny”, and previously even threatened Sweden’s Minister of Culture, Amanda Lind with “consequences for Sweden” in connection with the Swedish PEN’s award of the Tucholsky Prize to Chinese-born Swedish publisher, Gui Minhai.

Utgivarna believes that Sweden should now raise the issue of China’s actions at the EU level and, together with the other democratic EU countries, vigorously protest against all forms of attacks against the freedom of the press. Not only Sweden is affected. For example, the Chinese embassy in Copenhagen demanded this week that the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten apologize to the Chinese people for a satirical drawing published by the newspaper this week.

The problems are already well known: China ranks number 177 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index for 2019. The report “China’s pursuit of a new world media order” states that Chinese authorities use blackmail, threats, violence and harassment to silence journalists in democratic countries. According to the report the attacks are targeted at the media in general; from freelance reporters to large media companies and from publishers to social media.

In December, the International Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) presented a report on how China undermines press freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Utgivarna therefore strongly urges the Swedish government should take the initiative to act internationally in order to defend both the freedom of the press and freedom of expression with joint protests and concrete measures.


Anna Careborg, Svenska Dagbladet
Anne Lagercrantz, SVT
Björn Löfdahl, Sveriges Radio
Carl-Johan Bergman, Mittmedia
Casten Almqvist, TV4
Charlotta Friborg, SVT
Cilla Benkö, Sveriges Radio
Hanna Stjärne, SVT
Helle Klein, Dagens Arbete
Jan Helin, SVT
Jeanette Gustafsdotter, TU – Medier i Sverige
Jonas Eriksson, TT-gruppen
Kerstin Neld, Sveriges Tidskrifter
Marcus Melinder, Norran
Olov Carlsson, Dagens Samhälle
Patrik Hadenius, Utgivarna
Sofia Wadensjö Karén, UR
Sture Bergman, VK
Thomas Mattsson, Bonnier News
Unn Edberg, Vi
Viveka Hansson, TV4
Åsa Sjöberg, TV4

Header Image: Gothenburg, Sweden – March 11 2019: Kanalhuset, SVT Swedish television at nught seen from Stenpiren. Credit: Trygve Finkelsen/iStock