The Swedish Court of Appeals decided today that a satellite dish mounted on the facade of an apartment building is un-lawful, because it can hurt somebody if it fell down on the street below. One of the defendants, Mr Adnan, will be evicted on April 1st, following the courts verdict, together with his own and two other families.

Mr Adnan need the dishes to watch television from their home countries, but apparently the freedom to access information was considered less important than the landlords wish to keep the neighborhood stylishly neat, tidy and consistent. This caused Mr Adnan – a trained architect – to construct a mobile rig so that the dish would not be a permanent mount, but this solution was also deemed to be non satisfactory by the court – although they agree that it is safe.

The verdict will be a mandatory precedent, which in practice means that landlords across Sweden can force their tenants to remove satellite dishes without any chance of appeal.

Besides being extremely discriminating – since ethic Swedes are unlikely to want any other channels than those that are being provided by the terrestrial or cable broadcasts – isn’t the individuals freedom to access information much more important than anything else. I agree that satellite dishes may not be the most beautiful things in their own right, but it is neutralized in any urban environment. And, if safety cannot be guaranteed when tenants mount the dishes themselves, why oblige the landlords to help them?

Hopefully, Mr Adnan can find another apartment soon – and get access to the channels he wants through any other mean.

Google Earth placemark to the apartment buildings in Rinkeby
More on the event from Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish)