• Sweden's news in English

National library seeks guidance on child porn

TT/David Landes · 28 Jan 2011, 10:53

Published: 28 Jan 2011 08:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Jan 2011 10:53 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

After an investigation carried out with help from the National Criminal Police (Rikskriminalpolisen), the library, known as Kungliga Biblioteket (‘The Royal Library’), was able to conclude that it had 21 titles with child pornography in its collections.

The investigation was prompted after the library was reported for violating Sweden’s laws prohibiting the possession and distribution of child pornography.

The library has thus found itself caught between two laws: that of preserving the materials and the prohibition of child pornography.

"We want to know if we should allow them to be available for viewing for research purposes, and if so, how we should determine who should be allowed to see them," Communications Director Urban Rybrink told The Local.

According to Rybrink, the magazines determined to contain child pornography are locked up and "inaccessible" pending guidance from the government.

The library has sent a memo to the Ministry of Education and Research over whether - and if so how - the library's collection of child pornography should be managed.

The existence of the National Library's collection of child pornography emerged after a visit by the writer Valentin Bart in November 2008.

The collection at the library was built up in the years between 1971, when the possession, distribution and display of child pornography was legalized in Sweden, and 1980, when the law was repealed.

All of the library’s pornographic material has been placed off limits since 2009 when the investigation was launched.

Rybrink explained that the library hasn't altered its practices in light of the child pornography scandal, as it is duty bound to maintain a copy of all printed material published in Sweden.

Story continues below…

"That’s a duty we’re given by the government and which we must abide by. We have no influence over that responsibility," he said.

"If anything, this episode may give reason for the government to think things over again."

While the library has conducted an ongoing dialogue with the education ministry about the matter, Rybrink said the National Library has no idea how long it may take for the ministry to respond to the memo.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:34 January 28, 2011 by Åskar
I don't see the problem. The National library has an obligation to keep any- and everything printed for the benefit of future studies and it's not the library's task to judge the content.
11:42 January 28, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
One day the law may change again and they can release the collection.
12:18 January 28, 2011 by Luckystrike

Spoken like a true Pedophile *wink*
12:48 January 28, 2011 by Åskar
No, spoken like a true librarian.
15:48 January 28, 2011 by Maler1971
I'm sure that if it is allowed to be displayed / seen people will always do what is right . After all, people never do anything bad. Its only for research.

16:02 January 28, 2011 by Swedesmith
Just because it is in print does not mean it has value. If I take a dump on a piece of paper, does it warrant preservation?

I understand the fear that this could lead to book burning and the like, but c'mon child porn is crap and everybody knows it.
16:56 January 28, 2011 by Puge Henis
Child porn is horrible and has further reaching consequences than just the perv and the victim and much longer than just when that was filmed.

Call me over deal library, put all these books out in a pile and away from the library I'll be there with some gasoline and matches... then let everyone else debate if what I did was right/wrong/nazi like or whatever crap.

I know I would sleep well that night.
18:35 January 28, 2011 by BobWas
Why was the possession, distribution, and display of child porn legal at all? I'm assuming that Sweden always criminalized the rape and torture of children -- why would it condone depictions of those crimes?

And why does that list not include the "making of" or "publishing of"? Was it only foreign magazines showing foreign children being raped and assaulted overseas that was OK for Swedish consumers?

What about the depiction of other sexual crimes --or torture-- does the library have a collection of magazines for those, too?
23:35 January 28, 2011 by coot
I wish The Local would stop saying "Sweden legalized child pornography" when what really happened is that Sweden repealed a much broader anti-pornography law and did not think of defining this more narrow restriction. Nobody ever said "Hey, let's legalize kiddie-porn!" They said "Hey, we don't have to criminalize pictures of naked women".

Sweden keeps an archive of every book published in the country. The library is required by law to keep that archive, so I understand their concern. They have acted reasonably in restricting access while the matter is resolved, and they have not taken any irreversible actions.

I think it is unreasonable to destroy the material because you can find value just in proving that it existed. I'm sure there was some utter crap in the library at Alexandria, but now we'll never know how much or what kind, because of the Muslim invaders destroyed everything in 642. (cue the anti-immigrant rant...)

Truth is not something to be feared, even when you find it distasteful.
17:54 January 29, 2011 by BobWas
coot, thanks for your comment -- it all makes sense now.
03:16 January 30, 2011 by dan_sparrow
mmm im curious, who want that in the national library??? no one with a bit of brain will consider the content of those magazines for a future study...
11:41 January 30, 2011 by Garry Jones
Jesus Christ, what "jobsworth" people there are. If I was working there I would just grab it all and have a bonfire.

Job Done in 5 minuites without the Swedish "we-don't-know-what-to-do-so-we-will-have-a-3-year-investigation" mentality. Tedious numpties!.
13:39 January 30, 2011 by J Jack
If they widened the definition to child abuse, I think they would find enough material to fill an entire wing. Just look at Pippi and all the bum and up-skirt shots the pedo director has cut in to those films!
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available