Open Administration

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An important principle in any democracy is the possibility for the citizens to gain insight in 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 law-making 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 the right of access to documents which the police and other authorities may have containing information about us. Thus there exists open adminstration concerning documents as well as meetings, and this goes for both parliament, courts, and administration - legislative, judicial, and executive power.

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

It is hard to compare openness in different countries, but openness in the administration is a question that has caused much disagreement between the countries of the European Union. Generally, the tendency is towards more openness, and especially since Sweden joined the EU things have improved in this regard.

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Next chapter: Local Politics and Participatory Democracy