Access to Information Programme (AIP) dedicated the Conference Advocacy for Access to Information – Achievements and Challenges held on June 15 – 16, 2012 to its 15 years’ advocacy work in the field of access to information. We have received greeting addresses from:
The Head of AIP Legal Team, Alexander Kashumov, was nominated for the Sirak Skitnik Award of the Bulgarian National Radio for 2010. The awards are given to a person, organization, or media with a contribution in the defence of public interest in Bulgaria.
On July 26, 2010, AIP held a Conference in Sofia to mark ten years of the adoption of the Bulgarian Access to Public Information Act. The Chairperson of the Commission for Personal Data Protection, Ms. Veneta Shopova made a greeting:
The Chairperson of the parliamentary Culture, Civil Society and Media Committeeр Ms. Daniela Petrova, also addressed AIP for the Tenth Anniversary of the adoption of the Access to Public Information Act in Bulgaria.
AIP has been effective for both internal and external reasons. Internally, it is a highly professional organization that was built upon a diverse group of professionals and that subsequently has worked hard to establish itself as a center of expertise. These professionals understand international and national laws and standards, are media savvy, and are generally more knowledgeable than those around them. Externally, they initially benefited from linking ATI to international and local movements. Now their remit includes a broader set of issues, grounded in the general concerns of the public. This is important because all too often ATI campaigns can sound abstract, concerned with the process of government (which fascinates mostly those who are politically involved) rather than outcomes (which engage the general public).
Andrew Puddephatt, Exploring the Role of Civil Society in the Formulation and Adoption of Access to Information Laws - The Cases of Bulgaria, India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, Access to Information Working Paper Series, World Bank Institute, 2009.
Gergana and your colleagues at AIP are miracle workers! It’s 9 years since I visited Sofia, and I applaud your progress and terrific work.
Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director, Committee on Open Government, Department of State, February 9, 2010.
Arena Media Russe sent a Thank you letter for the legal help provided by the Head of AIP Legal Team, Alexander Kashumov in a case of complaint against the Media in front of the Commission for Personal Data Protection. Arena Media Russe empasized AIP persistent efforts in the access to information area. The letter is in Bulgarian.
On September 17, 2008, Access to Information Programme presented volume 4 of the Access to Public Information Litigation in Bulgaria (2005-2008). At the presentation, Mr. Konstantin Penchev, the Chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court - the court which had delivered most of the decisions on access to information cases, made an assessment of AIP work by noting:
The Press Center of the National Assembly of Bulgaria sent a letter on August 1, 2008 to thank for AIP cooperation in drafting the Internal Rules of the National Assembly of Bulgaria for Access to Information Provision
Access to Information Programme Legal Team was recognized with a Doploma for Contribution in the Construction by the citizen Georgi Shumakov, May 19, 2008.
On October 27, 2006 Access to information Programme organized an international conference Ten Years Advocacy for Access to Information 2006. Below are some of the mesages of congratulation, which AIP received for its 10th anniversary:
Dear Ms. Jouleva, dear colleagues and friends,
I wish to cordially congratulate you on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Access to Information Programme! I'm taking the opportunity to express my respect for all that AIP has done for the improvement of institutional transparency, promotion of the search for information and the protection of citizens' rights to be informed about the activities of the authorities. For ten years you have been carrying out your important task of supporting the implementation of the right to information. In doing so, you have become an active advocate of democratic principles, as well as the principles of legal order and the constitutional state. I wish you to be as persistent and active in the implementation of this noble mission in the future!
Prof. George Petkanov
It is my pleasure, personally and on behalf of the State Commission on Information Security, to congratulate you on the occasion of your 10th anniversary. The recognition of access to information is not only a constitutional right but also a political responsibility. I'm taking the opportunity to assure you that the State Commission on Information Security will continue to work for the incorporation of European standards on access to information. I strongly believe that AIP will continue its mission as a guarantee in this process.
Access to information in Bulgaria is associated with your organization. Without AIP the law most likely would not have been adopted in 2000. Without your strictness, the state administration would not be so open to citizens and businesses. I am very happy that we are partners.
Congratulations to the Access to Information Programme Foundation on its 10th anniversary, which coincides with Bulgaria's membership in the European Union. Access to Information is a cross-cutting issue and has relevance for society as a whole, as well as having a political meaning. It is about transparency and accountability. It is about the quality of society and democracy. The Access to Information Programme has a noble calling and must be proud of what it has accomplished so far.
H.E. Willem van Ee,
Laurens de Man,
We are happy that Bulgaria joined the family of countries with freedom of information laws as early as 2000. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate AIP and their executive director for their excellent work and for their critical contribution to the improvement of interaction between citizens and the government. At the seminar on the Right to Information organized by UNDP in Oslo in May of this year, AIP in Bulgaria was recognized as one of the leading NGOs and advocates of the right to information around the world. Its work has had an important impact not only in Bulgaria but also in other countries, which I believe to really be a remarkable achievement. I wish you much success in the future!
I have had the privilege working with AIP for eight years. The work of AIP in fighting for an access to information law here, followed by its role in the implementation of the law has been an important element in helping the democratic transformation in Bulgaria, which has contributed to EU membership. Groups like AIP sometimes lead the way and set standards, often even moving ahead of developed democracies. In Bulgaria AIP has developed a number of different strategies, including litigation strategies, training programs for public officials, and campaigns to raise public awareness. Monitoring is also one of their activities. The monitoring methodology that was developed in Bulgaria then has been used by a number of other organizations to create a international monitoring methodology, in which Chili performed very poorly and Bulgaria performed very well. This evidence was used by lawyers and played an important role in the recent decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to recognize access to information as a human right.
Freedom of information is the most basic element in creating a strong democracy and is the most important thing allowing people participate in politics. There are always politicians who want to keep important information secret. The fight for freedom of information is an everyday fight; journalists should be alert as tp what is going on. Bulgaria is a young democracy and soon will become a member of the EU. AIP has gotten a wonderful reputation over the last 10 years. I hope you can continue to your work. Thanks to your activity, journalists will be able to do their job, which is to remain close to the facts and the truth and nothing more than that.
As the Access to Information Programme turns ten, we may say you are still a child. However, your history shows that you have been working as a very experienced adult. Since 1999 we have been working on different regional projects. I want to mention two events that were created by AIP in Bulgaria. Your organization was the first to celebrate Right to Know Day, which you then - let's use that word - „exported” to all international organizations that are working on freedom of information. AIP's second contribution is your input in starting and establishing a network of organizations concerned with freedom of information. I wish you all the best and I'd like to be here again in another ten years.
It was the need and the value of information that gathered us together in 1996. We were convinced that an informed society is a democratic society. Such a society could be demanding toward its institutions. An informed society should receive necessary information from the media, while the media should press the institutions. In this way citizens and institutions can have a dialogue and government can be transparent. The human factor was important here - the principles of Gergana Jouleva and her will to be what she is have united the team of AIP and have made it so significant.
We cordially congratulate you on your 10th anniversary. With dedication, professionalism and aspiration for improvement you have made a name for yourselves as a pillar of the right of access to information. Thanks to your efforts we are witnessing more and more open, transparent, and accountable public institutions and increasingly informed and active citizens.
Most sincere greetings on the 10th anniversary of AIP! During these years you have successfully carried out your mission to improve the state of access to information in Bulgaria. As a municipality we are extremely glad to cooperate with and to receive your support. I hope this fruitful relationship will last so we can jointly help citizens when they look for and receive information. I wish all of you at AIP health, many successes, and persistence in pursuing your mission, which is exceptionally valuable and vital for this society.
Ten years is quite a long time. You have fulfilled and defended your mission: to facilitate the implementation of access to information. Your campaign is indisputable proof that freedom of information is of significant importance for democratic society. Freedom of Information guarantees public trust in the authorities, and this trust is one of the main prerequisites for effective and successful governance. AIP has been working towards the establishment of the main democratic values - transparency, accountability, participation and respect for every Bulgarian citizen. I wish you and your enthusiastic team ambitious new challenges and achievements.
You are custodians of the necessity for society and citizens to be informed and to actively participate in the life of public institutions. Access to information sharpens people's attention and facilitates the decision-making process when it comes to important problems. Your work is extremely useful and fruitful for the development of a democratic civil society. We are proud and grateful that Loukovit municipality has been nominated several times as an institution that gives the public at large the opportunity!
I would like to cordially congratulate the whole team on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of AIP! Personally and on behalf of the officials of the Sliven municipality, I hope you continue to follow your noble mission in establishing the right of access to information. Your persistent advocacy for improvement of existing legislation and for its harmonization with European standards is laudable.Thank you for your help in our activities to responsibly provide public information! Thank you for your support, assistance and for the very useful information materials. We use your experience in applying FOIA provisions; we will continue to rely on your assistance! I am proud of the fact that you acknowledged us on Right to Know Day and that we received an honorable diploma. This is a great honor for the Sliven municipality!
The people from AIP are professionals and they are a team. I envy Gergana Jouleva for her wonderful team. AIP is one of the reasons why Bulgaria has created a good access to information environment; you are the engine, the locomotive, that pulls things forward.