A complaint has been filed against 12 Swedish county councils for violating patients’ privacy by allowing television companies to film at hospitals, accident sites, and in ambulances.
According to the Center for Justice, which filed the complaint with the Justice Ombudsman, the recordings were often made without the knowledge of those involved and information about their health was exposed in TV programs as “commercial entertainment”.
The Center for Justice took action following a case at Uppsala's Akademiska hospital in which a cancer patients' fight for life was filmed and shown in the tv series "The hospital" (Sjukhuset) which covered daily life at there. The man's family watched the programme on television, unaware that their father and husband was to appear. The case is subject to legal proceedings.
Anna Rogalska Hedlund, a lawyer at the Center for Justice, tells Radio Sweden that they decided to investigate how many council council agreements with TV companies broke patients' privacy laws and found that 12 out of 21 councils broke the law.
"There might just be a film team coming with the ambulance when you are in an emergency situation and that is totally unacceptable" Hedlund says.
However, Malin Kvist, who is responsible for ER productions at at Titan Television, says they do everything by the book.
"We do everything we can in accordance with Swedish law. We never film first and ask later" she says to Radio Sweden.
"We are working very hard with our ethics and our morals and we would never do anything to hurt a patient, we respect the patient and after a patient has agreed to be filmed, they can still cancel that agreement at the last minute. Normally, patients ask when are they appearing on TV because they are very keen to see their case on televsion".