Regulatory framework for radio and tv broadcasts

Radio and television are broadcast in several different ways. The different forms of broadcasting can be distributed via terrestrial, satellite or cable/IP networks or online. Often a broadcaster distributes the same programme (i.e. the same content) via several distribution platforms such as a terrestrial TV channel, a webcast and an on-demand service. However, different rules apply depending on the platform on which the programme is broadcast.

The regulatory framework for broadcasting makes a distinction between the platform(s) on which a programme is distributed and the country from which it is broadcast. This means that we can only review broadcasts made from Sweden.

Several regulatory frameworks for forms of broadcasting

Broadcasters are subject to a number of rules contained in the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, the Radio and Television Act, broadcasting licences and decisions on accessibility requirements. For public service broadcasters, there are also funding conditions and rules on prior approval of certain new services. 

Radio and television broadcasts can be made via:

  • The terrestrial network (M)
  • Satellite (S)
  • Cable services, i.e. cable TV/IPTV and Internet (T)

What the Radio and Television Act contains

The Radio and Television Act (2010:696) is the law that regulates radio and television broadcasts and on-demand TV in Sweden, including when a licence is required to broadcast radio and television in the terrestrial network. It also contains rules on the content of broadcasts. Furthermore the law contains rules on advertising, sponsorship and product placement, as well as rules to increase the ability of people with disabilities to access broadcasts.

What the broadcasting licences contain

The broadcasting licence specifies where the broadcaster may broadcast and the duration of the licence. It may also contain conditions on programme content and technology.

What the accessibility requirements contain

There are requirements for Swedish broadcasters broadcasting in the terrestrial network, via satellite and via cable connections to make television broadcasts accessible to people with disabilities. There are a number of techniques that can be used to make programmes accessible. Examples of techniques include subtitling, sign language interpreting, audio descriptions and spoken text. We monitor accessibility requirements annually.