THE FACTS

Whereas a summary of the facts presented by the Applicant is to the
following effect:

The Applicant is a Swedish citizen living in Stockholm and has held
various high political offices (Governor of B., Deputy Speaker of the
First Chamber of Parliament, Representative to the United Nations).

I. His Application is directed against the newly enacted Swedish
Statute on Radio and Television of 30th December 1966, (Statute No.
755). He states that in Article 5 of this Statute it is provided that
one enterprise, which is nominated by the King-in-Council, shall have
the sole right to decide which broadcasting programmes shall be
transmitted on radio or television to the public of Sweden. According
to Swedish law there is no domestic remedy against this provision.
Furthermore, Article 5 gives to one enterprise a monopoly right to all
kinds of broadcasting and is, according to the Applicant's opinion,
contrary to Article 10, paragraph (1) of the Convention on Human
Rights.

In particular, the Applicant submits that the last sentence of
paragraph (1) which allows States to require the licensing of certain
enterprises must be interpreted in a narrow sense. The fact that a
licensing system is permitted does not mean that States have a right
to establish a monopoly system by licensing only one enterprise in the
country concerned. The wording of this part of the Article, where it
expressly speaks of several "enterprises", indicates that only a
licensing system which allows the right of broadcasting to be given to
several enterprises is admissible. The principle dangers of the Swedish
monopoly system to freedom of opinion will become more serious when the
plans to let the monopoly enterprise transmit television programmes on
two different channels are realised. Then the public can choose between
two programmes, although produced by the same monopoly enterprise,
their interest in the printed word, such a newspapers, periodicals and
books, will diminish.  It will then be still more difficult to reach
the public with ideas other than those which are authorised by the
monopoly enterprise. Persons who want to introduce ideas which do not
conform with those that are held by the monopoly enterprise will have
such difficulties that the freedom to receive and impart information
and ideas, as mentioned in the Convention, will be an illusion.

Only such newspapers and periodicals as have the powerful support of
big industrial circles or big organisations of other kinds have a real
possibility to spread information. All others will be doomed to
silence. This development will endanger the free democratic system of
the country. Only opinions authorised by the monopoly broadcasting
enterprise or by other powerful interests will have a chance to reach
the public.

Especially dangerous is the monopoly of the single enterprise of radio
and television. There can be no real competition between two channels
that are run by the same enterprise. Instead a certain conformity to
the general taste of the employees of the enterprise will be likely to
develop.

By reviewing only such books, films and theatre performances as are in
conformity with the ideas of the monopoly enterprise, that enterprise
will be able to push public opinion in the direction it wants and to
suppress ideas which are unpopular among its own employees.

The same member of the Government who was responsible for the new
Statute has recently been publicly lamenting that the views of his
party are not sufficiently observed in certain Stockholm newspapers
which have virtually a monopoly if the press. These papers are,
according to this Minister, giving the public a false picture of the
ideas and actions of his party. The same reflection can be made by many
persons in view of the monopoly enterprise of radio and television.
Many interesting ideas have, under the present circumstances, no chance
of being expressed through these media.

It has to be added that such dangers for the democratic system are
especially serious in a country where the consolidated political
parties have given themselves big state subsidies in order to
strengthen their own positions and to prevent the rise to power of new,
competitive parties. A system of several competing broadcasting
enterprises is badly needed if freedom of opinion is to be preserved.


With regard to the question in what way he is a victim of the Statute
concerned, the Applicant submits the following:

Whereas the Convention has been violated by enacting a Statute which
affects the position of all citizens, every citizen has also the right
to claim that he is a victim of that violation. During the last year
there has been a considerable number of cases in which individuals have
been denied the right to correct false broadcasting programmes
affecting them. When a programme is transmitted on the television
screen, the pictures make such an impression on the public that it is
much more difficult afterwards to correct the impression than to
correct a programme broadcast on the radio.

II. The Applicant mentions certain examples in this respect some of
them concerning him personally, but he states that the central point
that has to be investigated is not what happened to him but the
question whether or not Article 5 of the Swedish Statute is a violation
of the European Convention.

(1) The Applicant refers in particular to a television broadcast in the
beginning of 1967 giving, according to him, a false picture of certain
events in the L. company in Liberia in 1966. This programme has aroused
much attention in Sweden. He states that the Director of the
Information Service of the company concerned could give an account
showing that there have been insufficient possibilities to correct this
television broadcast.

(2) He further states that, in January, 1954, and again on later
occasions, he himself, when still in service as Governor of B., was
denied the right of correcting entirely inaccurate information
broadcast by the Swedish radio with regard to one of his official acts.

(3) In May, 1959, it was stated on television that the Applicant had
refused to discuss a certain matter on television whereas, in fact, he
had only asked to postpone the programme by one week pending the
results of an official investigation of the matter concerned. The
Applicant brought the issue before a special radio board set up to hear
complaints by the public but the board only decided that the programme
could not be postponed and did not touch the real issue of his
complaint.

(4) In 1965, the Applicant was asked to take part in a programme
dealing with the life of the farmers in East Africa in the
nineteen-twenties. However, when he gave his consent, subject only to
certain conditions intended to ensure the objectivity of the programme,
there was no longer any interest in his participation. He then wrote
a book on the life in East Africa in the twenties and this book was
never mentioned on radio or television.

THE LAW

Whereas the Applicant complains that by virtue of Article 5 of the
Statute of 30th December, 1966, radio and television are held as a
monopoly in the hands of one public enterprise and no competing
enterprises may be admitted; whereas the Applicant does not allege that
he himself or any group to which he belongs wishes to establish an
independent broadcasting or television enterprise; whereas he states,
however, that as a member of the general public he is affected in his
rights and freedoms guaranteed under Article 10 (Art. 10) of the
Convention;

Whereas in this respect the question arises whether the Applicant,
because of this alleged general impact on all citizens, can claim to
be a victim of an alleged violation of the Convention as is required
by Article 25 (Art. 25) thereof; whereas, however, the Commission does
not find it necessary to pursue this question in the present case;

Whereas, indeed, Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention, which
guarantees the freedom of expression and the right to receive and
impart information and ideas, provides expressly in the last sentence
of paragraph (1) (Art. 10-1) that "this Article shall not prevent
States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or
cinema enterprises";

Whereas this provision does not state whether such enterprises shall
be organised as private or as public corporations or whether they may
be granted a monopoly in the field of this particular activity or
whether there must at the same time exist competing enterprises;
whereas the Applicant relies on the fact that the provision speaks of
several "enterprises";

Whereas, however, the use of the plural term is grammatically
consistent with the previous reference in the text to "States" in
general as opposed to a "State"; whereas, when interpreting the term
"licensing"" in the provision in question, the Commission finds it
necessary to take into consideration the practice in different
countries which are member States of the Council of Europe; whereas in
this respect it appears that, both at the time of the drafting of the
Convention and at the present time, a great number of such member
States had established a system of public monopoly enterprises for
radio and television; whereas, therefore, the Commission finds that the
term "licensing" mentioned in the Convention cannot be understood as
excluding in any way a public television monopoly as such; whereas,
consequently, an examination of the substances of this part of the
application, including an examination ex officio, does not show any
appearance of a violation of the provisions of the Convention, and in
particular of Article 10 (Art. 10);

Whereas, furthermore, in connection with this general complaint the
Applicant has referred, by way of example, to four incidents which
allegedly show that the existing radio and television system does not
give an individual sufficient possibilities of replying to incorrect
statements made in radio or television programmes; whereas he has not
made it entirely clear whether he also wishes to put forward these
incidents as the basis of separate complaints;

Whereas, on the presumption that these incidents are so to be
considered, the Commission notes that certain of the radio and
television programmes to which the Applicant refers concerned him
personally; whereas he alleges that, in these instances, he was not
given a chance to present his opinions and actions in a fair and
correct manner to a radio and television audience; whereas, however,
these incidents took place in 1957, 1959 and 1965; whereas Article 26
(Art. 26) of the Convention provides that the Commission may only deal
with a matter "within a period of six months from the date on which the
final decision was taken";

Whereas the present application was not submitted to the Commission
until 15th February, 1967, that is more than six months after the
actions of the radio and television corporation to which the Applicant
refers and whereas no further remedies or decisions followed at a later
date; whereas furthermore an examination of the case does not disclose
the existence of any special circumstances which might have interrupted
or suspended the running of that period; whereas it follows that these
parts of the Application have been lodged out of time (Articles 26 and
27, paragraph (3) (Art. 26, 27-3) of the Convention);

Whereas the Applicant also refers to a television programme broadcast
in early 1967; whereas, however, on the same presumption that this
incident is also to be considered as a separate complaint, the
Commission has taken into consideration the fact that this programme
related to the enterprise set up in Liberia by a Swedish company;

Whereas in this respect it is to be observed that, according to Article
25 (Art. 25) of the Convention, the Commission may receive petitions
from any person "claiming to be the victim" of a violation of a right
or freedom guaranteed by the Convention; whereas the Applicant has not
alleged that the allegedly incorrect television reports on the L.
enterprise in any way concerned him personally and affected him in
relation to one of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the
Convention; whereas it follows that, in regard to this incident, the
conditions under which the Commission may receive an Application from
an individual are not satisfied; and whereas therefore, this part of
the Application is incompatible with the provisions of the Convention
and whereas consequently it must be rejected in accordance with Article
27, paragraph (2) (Art. 27-2) of the Convention;

Now therefore the Commission declares this application inadmissible.