The principle of public access

The principle of public access means that, as far as possible, the activities of government agencies, the Riksdag and local government decision-making bodies should be open. To guarantee transparency in these activities, the principle of public access to official documents has been enshrined in one of the fundamental laws, the Freedom of the Press Act.

The principle of public access entitles the general public to access official documents. Documents that are received or sent out by the Government Offices and other government agencies, e.g. letters, decisions and inquiries, usually constitute official documents. As a general rule, all incoming documents should be registered by the receiving authority.

Notes and draft decisions are not normally classified as official documents. If you want to know what documents are held by a government agency or to get hold of them, you should contact the agency in question.

The principle of public access also means that officials and others working in central government, municipalities and county councils have freedom of communication. This means that, with some exceptions, they have the right to tell, for example, the media about matters that would otherwise be secret without punishment and without the employer finding out who provided the information.