Official documents and disclosure

Pursuant to the Freedom of the Press Act, the public is guaranteed entitlement to insight by means of, inter alia, public access to official records. This means that, for example, a private individual or journalist is entitled to access the authority’s official documents.

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As a government administrative authority, several regulations apply for management of, inter alia, official documents, secrecy and archiving:

  • Freedom of the Press Act
  • Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009:400)
  • Public Access to Information and Secrecy Ordinance (2009:641)
  • Archives Act (1990:782)
  • Archives Ordinance (1991:446)
  • The Swedish National Archives regulations (RA-FS) and authority-specific regulations (RA-MS)
  • Principle of public access to official records and the document concept

What is an official document?

Document is understood to mean any written or pictorial matter or recording which may be read, listened to, or otherwise comprehended only using technical aids. The document concept comprises documents in both paper and electronic form. Examples of common paper document types at KI are records, degree certificates and decision documents. Examples of electronic documents at KI are e-mails and data files. Examples of other document types are photographs, databases and websites.

  • A document is official if it is held by a public authority, and if it can be deemed to have been received or drawn up by such an authority.
  • A document is deemed to have been received by a public authority when it has arrived at the authority or is in the hands of a competent official. Received documents comprise all documents which have been received and concern a specific matter or activity at the authority.
  • A document is deemed to have been drawn up by a public authority when it has been dispatched, i.e. when it has been sent from the authority.
  • A document which has not been dispatched is deemed to have been drawn up when it has been checked or completed in another manner, i.e. when the document has received its final form.

Public access to information and secrecy


The Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act contains provisions on registration, disclosure of official documents and other management of official documents by authorities.

Which documents are public?


Information in official documents which is not covered by any provision in the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act, or in the Government’s application decision of the Act in the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Ordinance, is public. Therefore, KI cannot itself or by means of agreements, undertake to observe secrecy which is not based on the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act or Public Access to Information and Secrecy Ordinance. A request for a document to be processed as “confidential” cannot be considered, unless there is constitutional support for it. For documents from abroad, the rules on public access to information of the country of origin do not apply.

Archives Act and the Swedish National Archives regulations


Pursuant to the Archives Act, an authority’s archive comprises the official documents which emerge in its activities and the documents defined in the Freedom of the Press Act. It also states that an authority’s archive belongs to the national cultural heritage and that it should satisfy the:

  • entitlement to access official documents,
  • need of information for adjudication and administration, and
  • need of research.

The Swedish National Archives are KI’s supervising authority for archiving. As support for the Archives Act’s provisions, the Swedish National Archives issue general regulations and advice which are published in the Swedish National Archives regulations (RA-FS). The provisions should be applied by KI. KI’s archiving function is responsible for contact with the Swedish National Archives.

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