Access to Information Programme

On October 23, 2013, AIP had its 17th anniversary. Thank you all for the greetings!


Greeting address from the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rossen Plevneliev

 

Greeting ddress from the Chairperson of the National Audit Office, Prof. Valeryi Dimitrov

 

Dear friends!
Access to Information Programme has an important place in our society. The civil spirit has been fueled by your public and legal actions, even when it has been discouraged. I am afraid that in October 2013, most of us feel threatened by the aggression of recommunisation processes. I firmly believe that AIP is a barrier lowered before them. Be safe and sound, always professional like you are!

Yuliana Methodieva,
Co-Founder of AIP, editor-in-chief of Obektiv magazine, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee


Congratulations, colleagues!
I wish you to be 170 years ahead such a good and safe pillar of access to information. You assist the Bulgarian society to change in a positive direction!

Neven Dilkov,
Managing Director of Neterra Ltd., Managing Director of Neterra Ltd., Member of AIP Board   

 

Greetings from the heart and with great gratitude! Let you live 1,000 years at least!
Peter Penchev,
Deputy Chairperson of the National Movement Ecoglasnost
 

 

Congratulations!
Be safe and sound, be as persistent as you are, and happy with the vocation to assist the society to begin to see by their right to information!

Hristo Hristov,
Founder and editor of the www.desebg.com
 


Happy holiday! Be as fighting, competent, and devoted to the right to ask and to know! Wishing you a lot of health, personal and professional successes to the whole AIP team!
Slaveya Hristova, Executive Director of “Balkan Assist”


Happy Holiday!
We wish you even more courage and success in the protection of the right to know!

Association “Movement with Ecological Purpose”, Yambol


Happy anniversary! We are celebrating with you! You have many achievements just for 17 years!
Alexander Assenov, Black Sea NGO Network


Happy Birthday, dear colleagues!

Hearty congratulations and wishes for success in your remarkable work!
Pavel Antonov, the team, the founders and the Steering Committee of BlueLink.net and on behalf of the civil initiative “Bulgaria Without Smoke” and “Let’s Save Karadere”
 

Congratulations for your holiday!
AIP is a hope, gives courage and confidence to a lot of people in the civil society. Let your future days be bright. Health and prosperity to the founders and those who have worked for achieving success! Let many more years to come!
Tsvetana Tsanova, Town of Silistra


We wish progress, long life and achievement of goals!
Valentin Valev, Chairperson of Association “Zona Lovech”


Hearty greetings from the Municipality of Razgrad and wishes for personal health! Keep on defending the tight of access to information so successfully!
Eng. Petya Stephanova, Secretary of the Municipality of Razgrad

Happy holiday, dear friends and colleagues!
Personally and on behalf of my colleagues, I congratulate you for your 17th birthday! I wish health, strength, militancy, and professional success to the wonderful AIP team! Thank you for assisting and supporting me during the years. Let you have a lot of supporters in following the important mission of defending the right to information. In our work, we will count on your support as well!
Tanya Balabanova, Senior Expert, Municipality of Sliven




 

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:

 


Ms. Rositsa Totkova – Chief Secretary of the National Ombudsman, presents a Plaque to AIP Executive Director Gergana Jouleva

The National Ombudsman, Mr. Konstantin Penchev (in Bulgarian)

The Chairperson of the State Commission on Information Security, Ms. Tsveta Markovа (in Bulgarian)

The Chairperson of the Comittee for Personal Data Protection, Ms. Veneta Shopova, who also presented the plaque of the Committee to AIP Executive Director, Ms. Gergana Jouleva

The Chairperson of the National Audit Office, Prof. Valeryi Dimitrov

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Culture, Civil Society and Media, Ms. Daniela Petrova

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On October 23, 2011, AIP had its 15th anniversary. Some of the greetings we received from friends, partners organizations and partner institutions:



Greeting address from Ms. Veneta Shopova, Chairperson of the Committee dor Personal Data Protection (in Bulgarian).

 

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Dear AIP colleagues,

Please accept our sincere congratulations for your 15th anniversary of pioneering in combating the culture of secrecy in your country. We all in the former YU countries had an excellent opportunity to learn from your experience while working with the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, together with the NGO AI Coalition, in a struggle for the adoption of Acceess to information law. Your knowledge and courage was an unexhaustive inspiration for our work in this field and contributed to our own breakthrough achievement with regard to imposing the issue of access to information on the political agenda in 2001 in Croatia. 
With best wishes for your work and the next 15th anniversary,

Milena Gogic, Adviser to the Ombudsman for International Cooperation, Croatia

 

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Dear Friends, dear Colleagues,
Fifteen years is a long time in human life but long in the life of an organization, too. AIP had reached its adolescence and adulthood much earlier, and I wish you to preserve for many more long years not only your professional qualities but also the human relationships and the good spirit in AIP and its allies.
Although the party is over, I will raise a glass of good wine for the past and future fifteen years of AIP!
Ivan Szekely, Counsellor of the Open Society Archives at Central European University/Associate professor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary



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A model organisation and a lesson for us all,
David Goldberg, Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland

 

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Happy Anniversary, Friends!

I admire what you have accomplished and continue to do for the citizens. Accept my best wishes and those of my colleagues.

Dr Stoicho Katsarov, Center for Protection of Rights in Healthcare

 

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Congratualations! After 15 years you have many reasons to be proud!
Klime Babunski, PRO MEDIA, Macedonia

 

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) Georgia congratulates Access to Information Program with the 15th Anniversary!!!
We wish you success in work and broader access to information!
IDFI team

 

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Dear colleagues – congratulations, and have a wonderful anniversary year.
Karin Christiansen and the Publish What You Fund team


 

 

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.

 

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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 access to information is important not only for the civil society, but for state authorities as well with regard to their capacity to work under the democratic principles of publicity, transparency and openness. I am sure that not only the participants in the conference, but also the citizens, the Bulgarian media and the people invlolved in state business assess respectfully the important contribution of Access to Information Programme to the effective implementation of the Access to Public Information Act and the resulful public debate.

 


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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Maria Zlatareva, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP presents the Certificate to AIP Executive Director - Gergana Jouleva, PhD
On September 30, 2009, AIP was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation in Recognition of a Longstanding Partnership and Committment to the Advancement of the Right to Know and Democratic Governance by the UNDP - Bulgaria. Within the period March 2007 - December 2008 AIP was supported by the UNDP in the implementation of the project Increasing Government Transparency and Accountability through Electronic Access to Information.


The Mayor of the town of Burgas, Mr. Dimitar Nikolov, sent a Greeting Letter with regard to the 2009 Right to Know Day - 28 September.

 

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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.

 

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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:
We may have the best laws, but we have to implement them, i.e. the society shall make the mechanism work. I would like to thank to the Access to Information Programme because they made the court think over and apply the law. They made the court answer – sometimes correctly, sometimes not, but developing its practices due to the questions set forth.

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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

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Access to Information Programme Legal Team was recognized with a Doploma for Contribution in the Construction by the citizen Georgi Shumakov, May 19, 2008.

Грамота за принос в строителството
Georgi Shumakov is a young entrepreneur who is persistently using the Access to Public Information Act to obtain information. He has taken initiatives to provide public bodies with the materials necessary to fulfil their obligations. He was recognized with an Honorary Diploma at the 2007 Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony held by AIP on September 28.

 

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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,
It is a pleasure for me to congratulate you on the 10th anniversary of this important project of yours! I say „yours,” however I'd like to underscore that your work in the protection of the basic civil right to know and the right to be informed is actually work done in the name of democracy. I congratulate you for your courage, tenacity, patience, motivation, and for your success during these ten years. Thanks to your activity, citizens' opinions about the right of access to information have been accepted and imposed more quickly in Bulgaria. Everyone who has made even a step in this field can say - it was worth it! Your efforts provided civil society with an impetus to stop talking about access to information as something exotic and something that is happening elsewhere. These ten years were marked by difficulties as well as achievements. Both difficulties and achievements strengthen one's character. For this reason, I congratulate you namely for your character, since it is good not only for personality but also for the cause. Strong citizens guarantee a strong state and you are on the citizen's side. Congratulations!

Meglena Kouneva
Minister of European Affairs

 

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
Minister of Justice

 

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.

Tzveta Markova
Chairperson of the State Commission on Information Security

 

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.

Maria Divizieva
Deputy Minister of the Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform

 

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,
Ambassador of the Netherlands



Ten years ago, the Access to Information Programme set support for the implementation of the right to access government-held information as a top priority. I strongly believe that this effort has substantially contributed to a more transparent and better-functioning democracy in Bulgaria - something that was acknowledged by the EU when it announced that Bulgaria will become a full member-state as of next year. Because such implementation of access to government-held information is a very difficult, long-lasting and expensive progress and project, we were very happy when the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs approved the project three years ago, which was set up with AIP and VVMZ to support the implementation of access to government information in Bulgaria. This project, which is now nearing its end at the beginning of next year, has reached most of the project goals that were defined at the start of the project, thanks to the exceptional role of AIP. I want to thank AIP for its outstanding performance and enormous dedication to this project.

Laurens de Man,
Executive director, VVMZ

 

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!

Lene Jespersen,
Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP to Bulgaria

 

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.

Helen Darbishire
Executive director, Access Info Europe

 

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.

Edward Figee
VNG International Senior Advisor

 

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.

Ilir Aliaj
Executive Director of the Center for the Development and Democratization of Institutions, Albania

 

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.

Yuliana Methodieva,
Co-Founder of AIP, editor-in-chief of Obektiv magazine, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee



We can be very proud because AIP has surpassed all of our expectations about what could be achieved during these years. This anniversary is an opportunity to recall what we thought, what we wanted to do, what we expected to happen, and what actually happened. This is a time to estimate and reconsider the experience, which will help us in the future. Ten years ago when we discussed what was important and why this needed to be done, we were united by the conviction that information is power and that this power should be accessible in a democratic society. Beyond this, we clearly understood that to begin to function, the right to information should be incorporated in a legal text and should become part of a law. There were two ways to achieve this - adoption of a law by the Parliament or by virtue of the Constitution or international legislation.

Yonko Grozev,
Center for Liberal Strategies, Co-Founder of AIP

 

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.
We wish you health and inventiveness, more effective work and satisfaction, a stimulating environment and a good mood! May you rely more on your partners and friends both in difficult and happy moments! We are with you!

Ginka Kapitanova
Executive Director, Foundation for Local Government Reform

 

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.

Hasan Azis
Mayor of Kurdjali

 

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.

George Georgiev,
Mayor of Tundja

 

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!

Petar Ninchev
Mayor of Loukovit

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!

Yordan Lechkov
Mayor of Sliven

 

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.

Hristo Hristov,
Journalist, Dnevnik