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Instruction for the Office of the Press Ombudsman

§ 1
The Press Ombudsman (PO) shall provide advice and assistance to individuals who feel offended by something that has been published in a newspaper, other periodical or Internet publication, investigate deviations from good journalistic practice, either on his own initiative or following an application, whenever appropriate refer such cases for decision by the Press Council and, by participating in public debate further the cause good journalistic practice.

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With regard to Internet PO´s mandate has the following limitations:

a) The review applies to Internet publications by companies represented in the Joint Committee of Press Associations.

b) The review applies to such Internet publications that constitute supplements to periodicals as defined in the Freedom of the Press Act 1:7 or which are referred to in the Freedom of Speech Act 1:9 and produced by the editorial staff of a printed periodical or by a company belonging to a corporation that also publishes periodicals.

§ 2
An application to PO should be made in written form. If it concerns an Internet publication a printout of the published material should be enclosed.

§ 3
The Assistant Press Ombudsman serves as the Press Ombudsman's deputy and assumes his responsibilities whenever PO is not on duty. If PO so decides the Assistant Press Ombudsman shall also assume PO's responsibilities in handling a specific case or group of cases.

The Assistant Press Ombudsman may not take any action or make any decision that would upset or change instructions given by PO or principles observed by him.

§ 4
PO shall rapidly seek to resolve disputes between individuals and newspapers caused by adverse publicity through mediation and by offering advice at an early stage of the dispute. Whenever appropriate, PO, through direct contacts with the newspaper in question, shall hurriedly seek to obtain a correction or sufficient space for reply from the injured party.

What is stated in the first paragraph shall also apply to disputes relating to such Internet publications as are referred to in Section 1.

§ 5
In deciding whether a case should be referred to the Press Council, PO shall primarily consider whether the following requirements have been met:

a) There must me reasonable ground for the application.
b) Review of a case by the Council must be of significance in view both of ethical principles and the damage which the article might have caused.
c) The application must refer to a relatively recent article.

Should PO find that the application does not meet the above requirements, the case shall be dismissed. In that context it should be considered whether a correction or reply to the allegations has been published.

Unless otherwise justified, applications to PO may be taken up for review only if they refer to articles or Internet publications published within three months prior to the date that the application was received.

§ 6
PO shall obtain the written consent of the injured party before he - on application from a person other than the injured party or on his own initiative - refers the matter to the Press Council.

§ 7
Applications submitted to PO but dismissed by him may, within one month of the date of that decision, be referred to the Council by the applicant himself on condition that the matter is directly relevant to the applicant.

Complaints from an applicant not directly affected by the publication in question may not be referred to the Council by the applicant.

§ 8
A newspaper or Internet publication against which a complaint is lodged is expected, upon PO's demand, to make available a sufficient number of copies of the issue in which the article appeared or if possible a print out of the Internet publication.

§ 9
In addition to the duties of the Office of the Press Ombudsman described in Sections 1-6 herein, the Ombudsman shall, as far as possible, provide the general public with information and advice concerning the professional ethics of the press. Information and advice of this nature shall be free of charge.

PO shall as far as possible contribute to the general knowledge of matters concerning the professional ethics of journalists. This should include talks and lectures, the writing of articles, etc., for publication in journals of both a specialized and a general kind, and, if desired, also lecture at educational institutions for journalists.

§ 10
The person appointed Press Ombudsman should have a thorough knowledge of press ethics and related issues. Journalistic experience should also be taken into account.

PO shall be appointed by a committee made up of the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman, the chairman of the Swedish Bar Association and the chairman of the Joint Committee of Press Associations. He shall be employed by the Press Ombudsman Foundation administered and financed by the National Press Club, the Swedish Union of Journalists, the Swedish Newspaper Publishers Association and the Magazine Publishers Association.

Conditions of employment and salary shall be established in a separate agreement between PO and the Foundation. The term of office shall be three years. Unless notice is given by the Foundation no later than one year before the expiration of the term of office, or by the PO no later than six months before the expiration of the term of office, it shall be automatically renewed for a further three-year period. The same period of notice as applied to the first term of office shall apply to each new term of office.

The Assistant Press Ombudsman shall be appointed by the board of the Press Ombudsman Foundation in consultation with PO. Conditions of employment and salary shall be established in a separate agreement drawn up between the Assistant Press Ombudsman and the Foundation.

§ 11
PO may not undertake duties outside of those defined in Section 9 herein without the knowledge and consent of the Foundation.

§ 12
The question of changes in this instruction shall be decided by the Joint Committee of Press Associations.

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