Open Administration

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An important principle in any democracy is the possibility for citizens to gain insight into the work of the three branches of government; that it is publicly available.

This means that we as citizens have the right to follow the legislation process - we can show up in the parliament and follow the debate, we can read transcripts of it, or maybe it is even broadcast live on TV or on the Internet.

Openness in the administration also means that most hearings and trials are public, and that each one of us has access to knowledge about the information that the police and other institutions have about us. So there is both access to public records and access to public meetings, and that goes for both parliament, courts, and administration - legislative, judicial, and executive power.

In all cases there are exceptions, and most of them have to do with the security of the country. For example if the country is threatened by a foreign power. Regarding trials, the judge can also decide that a hearing takes place behind closed doors, in order to protect the persons involved in the case.

It is hard to compare different countries, but openness in the administration is one of the questions that have caused much disagreement between the countries of the European Union. Generally the tendency is towards more openness, and especially since the Swedish joined the EU, things have been moving forward in this regard.

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Next chapter: Local Politics and Participatory Democracy