Fria Tidningen focuses on issues such as environmental issues, equality, democracy, freedom and animal rights. It has been available throughout Sweden since 2008.
Editorial team. Image: Fria Tidningen
For its birthday, the cooperative is supporting four international newspaper projects. 73,928 euros were raised by readers, comrades and friends. Fria Tidningen is one of these projects. Updated article on the Fria Tidningen project from April 2018 by our foreign correspondent Reinhard Wolf.
Since 2001, Fria Tidningen has been an independent alternative to the conservative newspapers that dominate the Swedish market. We focus on issues ignored by the mainstream press, such as environmental issues, equality, democracy, freedom, peace, animal rights and social justice. In the beginning, Fria Tidningen was published once a week in Stockholm until it became a national newspaper in 2008. Now it is published twice a week and the goal is five times a week by the end of 2012.
Our main competitors are the mainstream newspapers in Stockholm (DN and SvD) and Gothenburg (GP), as well as the weekly newspapers published by left-wing parties and organizations (Arbetaren, ETC and Flamman). Distribution is difficult for us because there is a monopoly in newspaper distribution in the main Swedish cities and our newspaper is insignificantly small next to the big newspapers.
Our typical reader is a politically active intellectual who lives mainly in Stockholm and Gothenburg and wants an alternative to the mainstream media. All our departments focus on our main topics, such as human rights, environment, etc. and we prioritize texts about migrant rights, volunteer work, environmental activists, etc.
Around 100 employees
We also provide unique and in-depth analysis of Swedish and international politics. Our regular commentators are respected authors, intellectuals, artists and political activists. We have 45 permanent employees and around 50 freelancers.
Before the Swedish elections in 2010, we published a series of articles listing general political questions and questions on the issues we were particularly interested in, such as foreign policy, welfare, gender and energy policy. All the parties responded and we added interviews with people working in the relevant fields.
Our biggest challenge. The lack of funding and resources. We need more capital/resources to be able to do more of our own stories and for publications to reach a wider audience and have more impact.
Where we want to be in 5 years: We are a serious challenge to the dominant mainstream newspapers in circulation and influence. Our news resonates with other media and shakes up political and business leaders. Our opinion pieces inspire people to fight for a better world and pressure politicians to work for a more just society.
We’ve always been a cooperative because that’s the model we believe all businesses and all of society should be organized around. People should have more power over their lives, both at work and in society.
We founded the cooperative in 2001 with five members. We are open to new members. The starting capital at that time was 5,000 euros, and today we have debts of 400,000 euros. Last year, 2011, we made profit for the first time and the forecast for 2012 predicts profit as well.
To be a member, one must be employed by the newspaper, which means that all members work in production or administration. The annual meeting of the members is the governing institution. We pay wages and all employees get the same salary regardless of position or years on the job.
We would use the money to make a strong campaign for the cooperative. We want it bigger – more people, more energy and activity, stronger finances. Our vision is a cooperative like that of the taz and projects that are added to the newspaper, such as stores, travel, studies, seminars and so on.