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Frequently asked questions

1 January 2022

Psychological defence is society’s common ability to resist undue influence on information and other misleading information directed at Sweden. Our collective resistance to disinformation, propaganda and psychological warfare should prevent or make it difficult for an attacker to influence our decisions, perceptions or behaviours.

Psychological defence aims to ensure as far as possible Sweden’s freedom, independence and an open and democratic society with freedom of opinion and free media, in peacetime, heightened alert and ultimately in war.

Many people contribute to psychological defence. Free and independent media is a key player along with agencies and institutions, but as an individual you also play an important role. By increasing your knowledge and awareness that misleading information exists, how it is spread and how it poses a threat, you reduce the risk of being influenced.

The Swedish Psychological Defence Agency leads the work of coordinating and developing Sweden’s psychological defence – an important part of a strong and modern total defence.

The Swedish Psychological Defence Agency works long-term and preventively by implementing training and exercises, conducting research, and international cooperation. We study and develop methods and spread knowledge to the general population and relevant actors. In the short term we closely follow developments both in our immediate area and internationally. We identify, analyse and are prepared to act quickly when required.

We work for collaboration between agencies and other actors in the preventive work and create conditions for coordinated operational action.

Misleading information can create anxiety, heighten hatred and doubt and make society more vulnerable. This can be exploited by interests that want to threaten and disrupt Swedish society and our independent decision-making. It can challenge the life and health of the population, societal functioning and our fundamental values such as democracy, the rule of law and human rights and freedoms.

  • Most people who spread misleading information are unaware that they are spreading inaccuracies and that it can be harmful. Information that appears relevant, convincing and engaging (e.g. revealing, outrageous or funny) is often spread without malicious intent and without scrutinizing the source. Remember to be careful when sharing information and always be critical of sources.
  • Misleading information is also spread by financial interests. This can be done by companies or individuals by expressing sensational information in order to attract visitors to a website and gain advertising revenue.
  • Disinformation is spread with malicious intent. Actors in and outside Sweden with an agenda to damage confidence in Sweden and its open democratic society use methods such as anxiety and polarizing societal issues as a platform for this.

By becoming more aware and learning to recognise misleading information you increase your resilience to being affected by it. Disinformation depends on people sharing it, so be careful when sharing information and be critical of sources and avoid sharing information you feel hesitant about. A good start can be to complete this web course. Please note that the web course is held in Swedish.

When Sweden is hit by serious events that can lead to stress or crises – locally or nationally – you will find confirmed information from agencies and other responsible actors at www.krisinformation.se

You can also call 113 13, which is Sweden’s national number for information. You can get information in the event of serious accidents and crises in society. You can also call and provide information to 113 13.

Yes, in Sweden our freedom of speech and expression is protected by the constitution. Agencies have a responsibility to increase everyone’s awareness that disinformation and misleading information occurs, so that society’s functionality and people’s lives and health are not threatened.

Misleading information can threaten our open and free society. Identifying and counteracting the effects of misleading information is part of the agencies’ responsibility to stand up for freedom of expression, which strengthens democracy.