Fourteen years already Access to Information Programme Foundation has been perseveringly following its mission to assist the exercise of the right to information. Since its establishment in 1996, AIP has been running a permanent campaign for improving the access to information situation in Bulgaria and has been actively participating in international networks and initiatives related to the right to information.
The Goals of Access to Information Programme are:
- to assist the exercise of the right of access to information
- to encourages the citizens’ demand for government held information through civic education in the freedom of information area
- to advocate for enhanced transparency in the work of public institutions at central and local level
Access to Information Programme activities:
- AIP monitors the freedom of information legislation in Bulgaria and participates in the debates for its compliance with the international standards in the area
- AIP works with an established network of journalists in 26 cities throughout the country that monitors the access to information implementation practices and gives recommendations for their improvement
- AIP prepares and performs special access to information surveys
- AIP provides consultations on cases concerning the right of access to information – in more than 4,000 cases already
- AIP provides legal help in individual cases of information seeking
- AIP raises public awareness on the right of access to information through the media, publicly expresses opinion on current problems and debates related to the access to information and its misuse at all levels
- AIP organizes workshops, seminars and conferences on access to information
- AIP holds specialized freedom of information trainings for civil servants and local administration officials, journalists, and nongovernmental organizations
- AIP prepares information materials and publications for the central and local press
- AIP maintains an Internet site with up-to-date information about the developments in the access to information area in Bulgaria and abroad
- AIP prepares and publishes handbooks on how to exercise the right of access to information, as well as publications clarifying particular aspects of the access to information legislation
- AIP issues and disseminates a monthly electronic Newsletter which contains national and international access to information related news
- AIP is an active member of the International Freedom of Information Advocates Network
By participation in public debates and submission of specific recommendations and statements, AIP have contributed to:
- The adoption of the Access to Public Information Act in 2000 and its positive amendment in 2008
- The free access to the Trade Companies Register in the Internet
- The free access to the State Gazette in the Internet
- The free access to the Register of Property Owned by High Government Officials in the Internet
- The access to the documents of the former State Security Services for the purposes of personal scrutiny or investigations
We have provided legal consultation to over 4,000 cases and have brought to court over 190 cases under the Access to Public Information Act. Due to our legal help, representation in court, and advocacy:
- Citizens, journalists, NGOs and business receive thousands of documents per annum by exercising their right of access to information
- We have achieved the first review of classified documents and declassification of a considerable part of them in Bulgaria
- Litigation for access to documents of the former State Security Services was successfully completed and served as sources for creating of books like the bestsellers of Hristo Hristov Kill the Tramp, The Double Life of Agent Piccadilly, etc.
- 2008 – 2009 attempts of the law enforcement authorities to legalize Internet surveillance were stopped
- Publication of the minutes from the government sessions started
- Online publication of government contracts with private companies started
We have organized and held 600 trainings on access to information issues. Trainings were attended by 7000 civil servants, representatives of NGOs, journalists and students.
We have prepared and published ten Access to Information in Bulgaria annual reports. Their recommendations have contributed to changes of legislation and practices.
Since 2003 the AIP has initiated and organized the annual Right to Know Day Awards Ceremonies.
Members of the team have presented AIP experience at meetings and forums in: Azerbaijan, Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chili, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Rumania, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, the Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA, and Vietnam.
We have over 2,200 publications in the printed media.
We have participated in 1500 radio and TV broadcasts.
Due to AIP, public awareness about the right of access to government held information has increased from 3% in 2000 to 39% in 2010, and Bulgaria ranks second in the world in terms of number of requests per capita among 86 countries with effective access to information laws.
The AIP publications are over 50. The Access to Public Information Act handbooks for citizens and for the administration have been published in several editions and thousands of copies have been disseminated to libraries, information centers, community centers, universities.
We have prepared 16 reports on the state of access to information, and our four books on the Access to Public Information Act litigation practices are well known. A number of our publications over the years focus on specific problems related to access to information and the media, the local self-government, the environment, the business sector and the judiciary.
AIP analyses have been published in prominent foreign editions.
||Access to Information Programme is a co-founder and member of the International Freedom of
Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet)
||Access to information Programme is a founding member of the European Civil Liberties Network
||Access to Information Programme is an associate member of the European Citizen Action Service
||Access to Information Programme is a member of network The Access Initiative
||Access to Information Programme is a member of the Network of Democracy Research Institutes
How to contact us:
You can always write us an e-mail
or visit our office:
Gergana Jouleva, Executive Director
Access to Information Programme
76, Vassil Levski Blvd. 3rd floor
Also, you could call us or send us a fax:
Tel/fax: (+359 2) 988 50 62; 981 97
91; 986 77 09
We have a network of coordinators in 27 regions in Bulgaria.