Complaint brought against the Municipal Executive Board in Piteå municipality because one of its members was informed about a request for the disclosure of a document

A journalist requested access to a member’s travel expenses to and from Municipal Executive Board meetings and Municipal Council meetings. An official working for the Municipal Executive Board informed the member about the document’s disclosure and forwarded an email to the member which contained the journalist’s name.

Provided that it is done for objective reasons, and that the requirements for disclosing documents are not disregarded, the Ombudsman sees no obstacle to, for example, a member of a municipal assembly being informed of circumstances that may attract media attention because a public document has been requested.

The Parliamentary Ombudsman states that it has not been found that any irrelevant considerations were taken into account or that the disclosure of documents was held up due to the member being notified. Therefore, neither the fact that the member was informed that the request had been received nor how it was handled give rise to grounds for criticism.

However, the Parliamentary Ombudsman considers that the forwarding of the journalist’s name to the member was not in compliance with the principle of the protection of anonymity laid down in the Freedom of the Press Act and criticises the Municipal Executive Board for this.

Date of decision: 2024-01-11