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Sweden: Journalist's Association considers draft EU-law 'disgraceful'

The Swedish Journalist's association SJF raises an alarm: "This is a disgraceful attack against transparency in the EU," it says in a recent press release commenting on the recent EU-Commission draft on a reform of the rules to access to documents. Not only does the Commission claim this to be an improvement, but it also prevents media and citizens from a true possibility for access to documents.

"The draft will obscure the administration. This will counteract possibilities to get access," writes SJF in a recent press release.

"The EU's Commission declares this improvements. However in the text itself it turns around and makes it more difficult for media and citizens to follow, how EU's institutions handle their budgets and power. This is disgraceful," said the leader of the association, Agneta Lindblom Hulthén, on Europe-day the 9th of May. 

The draft is building a wall around the administration itself. On several levels the draft deteriorates the existing rules (regulation 1049/01)." And it says:

  • Citizens and media shall only be guaranteed access in developments, that concern the legislative proces. Today we have in principle a right to ask for all documents.
  • Administration in legal processes like the Vaxholm case are explicitly excluded from access.
  • Documents concerning the administration like the Commissiones considerations in competition cases - like for example the objections against the Swedish media support - are explicitly exempted from access.

The Svenska Journalistförbundet considers the wording on the definition of documents "alarming", because only registered documents and documents that have been sent or received exist formally. Also it criticises the prolongation of the institution's answering times. 

Agneta Lindblom Hulthén now hopes to establish an alliance of organisations to support access to documents as during the initial fight for the existing regulation.

Staffan Dahllöf & Brigitte Alfter






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