Communications policy

To approach the vision of advancing knowledge about life and strive towards better health for all, and solve the challenges on our way there we need to communicate and collaborate with each other and with several important groups locally, nationally and internationally.

  • Diary number: 1-175/2022
  • Decision date:
  • Validity period: Until further notice
  • Decision: President
  • Document type: Policy
  • Handled by department/unit: Kommunikationsavdelningen
  • Preparation with: Heads of department at Professional Services, members of KIRP, AC:s, deans and university director

Summary of the policy

Communication policy for Karolinska Institutet aims to create an overall common view of communication at Karolinska Institutet. It describes, among other things, what KI's communication should contribute to and what should characterize KI's communication, who are KI's overall target groups, the overall communication responsibility at KI and laws and regulations concerning the area of communication.

Communication objectives

KI's communications should contribute to:

  • KI's achievement of its operational goals and strengthening its position as a world-leading medical university,
  • increased knowledge and confidence in KI's research and education and its importance for a sustainable society,
  • attract the outside world to want to become part of or contribute to KI's activities,
  • dialogue and collaboration.

Within KI, communications should also::

  • support an open and permissive working environment that encourages active dialogue among the different parts of the organisation,
  • provide employees and students with access to relevant information so that they can carry out their tasks as effectively as possible,
  •  build internal pride and unite KI as a diverse organisation.

Communications approach 

The starting point for communications is KI’s core values from Strategy 2030: creativity, passion and responsibility.

Creativity: communications should reflect and bring to life KI's activities and show its significance for the outside world. We must base our communications on the needs and circumstances of the audience.

Passion: KI values diversity, different opinions and many voices, which should be reflected in its communications. KI encourages employees to get involved in the organisation's communications, and to take responsibility for their part in it.

Responsibility: communications must be factual and high-quality. Our communications must meet the public sector requirements of transparency and accessibility. Everyone should be clear about the role in which they are communicating.

Target groups 

KI's overall target groups nationally and internationally are:

  • employees (existing and potential employees and affiliates)
  • students (prospective, existing and alumni)
  • societal and business stakeholders (e.g., media, health care, patient organisations, external researchers, funders, partners)
  • the public (e.g., study participants, donors, medically interested individuals)
  • public authorities and decision-makers (e.g., politicians, other higher education institutions, research councils)

Responsibilty for communications 

Responsibility for communications follows the operational responsibility according to KI's Decision and Delegation Rules. The principle is therefore that whoever is responsible for an issue or an activity is also responsible for communications. Communications must be made in accordance with the KI brand guidelines.

All KI staff are responsible for

  • communicating within their areas of responsibility
  • keeping themselves sufficiently informed to carry out their work
  • sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions.
  • distinguish in which capacity you are speaking, i.e., in the name of KI, on behalf of KI or as a private individual. The right to speak on behalf of KI follows from the responsibilities of one's position within KI. Employees who speak out on matters for which they do not have responsibility or expertise do so as private individuals, not as official representatives of KI. See also the rules on the Freedom to communicate information below. 

Managers' communications responsibilities

The operations manager is responsible for internal and external communications within his/her area of activity in accordance with this communications policy. Managers are responsible for creating the conditions for an open communication climate and good dialogue. Managers also have a responsibility to communicate and confirm KI's vision, goals, strategies, rules and core values.

Responsibilities of the Communications and Public Relations office and communications officers

The Communications and Public Relations Office creates the conditions for the business to communicate, develops KI's communications and provides a framework and instructions for communications work.Communications officers in the Communications and Public Relations Office and other parts of the organisation provide expert strategic and operational support to managers and staff.

Communications responsibility during a crisis

In a crisis, there is a great need to reach out quickly and coordinate internal and external communications. Communications responsibilities during a crisis follow KI's rules for crisis management. When activated, the KI's central crisis organisation is responsible for coordinating communications issues.

Laws and regulations relating to communications

Since KI is a government public authority, numerous regulations govern internal and external communication.

  • The Constitution, the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression regulate everyone's right to freedom of opinion, expression and information.
  • The Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (2009:400) specifies which information is public and thus can be communicated. According to the Administrative Procedure Act (2017:900), KI must ensure that contacts with individuals are smooth and simple, as well as helping individuals to further their interests.
  • The Higher Education Act (1992:1434) stipulates that KI shall interact with the surrounding community and provide information about its activities. Anyone who intends to start an education or training programme has the right to information about the programme under the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100).

Other laws that affect the communications and information area include:

  • copyright legislation
  • the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) with Swedish supplementary legislation
  • the Gender Equality Act (1991:433), the Discrimination Act (2008:567)
  • the Act on Accessibility to Digital Public Services (2018:1937)
  • the Act on Co-determination in the Workplace (1976:580)
  • the Language Act (2009:600).
  • Freedom to communicate information
    The rules on freedom of communication complement freedom of expression and mean that any public sector employee may orally disclose information to the media for the purpose of publication. However, there are provisions on professional secrecy that restrict the right to communicate and publish certain information that requires special protection.

    Employers are not allowed to investigate employees' contacts with the media when they have exercised their freedom of information (investigation ban). Nor may the media reveal a source who wishes to remain anonymous.

Policy in full