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Sweden celebrates 250 years of free speech with silent speech

Sweden celebrates the world’s oldest Freedom of the Press Act – 250 years of media freedom and transparency. In order to defend free speech and transparency from repressive legislation, self-censorship and intimidation the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs launches the international campaign #FreeTheSpeech, created by the Swedish ad agency King.

In many parts of the world, fundamental rights and freedoms on free speech are increasingly under threat. In order to dramatize the consequences, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has produced a short film #Free the Speech, which emphasizes the silence in a world without free speech.

"We see this 250-year anniversary as an opportunity to highlight the importance of a free press and show how quiet the world becomes without free speech" says Anna Björkander, Head of Communication at Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The campaign video shows celebrities such as Leonardo di Caprio, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai in the podium, ready to express themselves. But instead of speeches there is only awkward silence.

"In this case we believe that silence speaks louder than words. It serves as a reminder for everyone who take freedom of speech for granted and will hopefully inspire more people to raise their voices for those who have none" says Christoffer Dymling, Copywriter at King.

The campaign launched December 2 and will be an integral part of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs work during 2017 and onwards.

Client, Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Jon Pelling, Project manager, Free Speech
Anna Björkander, Head of Communication
Tobias Nilsson, Deputy Head of Communication
Sofie Hillbom, Head of Strategic Communication

Ad agency, King
Johan Tesch, Digital Director
Christoffer Dymling, Copywriter
Jesper Stein, Art Director
Axel Lokrantz Månsson, Art Director
Frank Hollingworth, Creative Director
Pernilla Berg, Account Director
Elin Boethius, Account Manager

Film production
Johan Söderberg, Director
Camilla Geijer, Producer
Markus Ahlm, Colony, Agency Producer

Web production: Blindspot