On April 26, 2016, at a press conference in Sofia, the Access to Information Programme presented the results of its 2016 Audit on Institutional web sites in Bulgaria. The 2016 Active Transparency Ratings and the 2016 Budget, Financial Transparency and Integrity of Municipalities Map were launched. In the lack of a public body to coordinate and control the implementation of the APIA, including the obligations for proactive publication of information, the AIP Audit serves as a model publication scheme for public bodies to increase their active transparency.
The Access to Information Programme presented findings and conclusions from its sixteenth annual report Access to Information in Bulgaria 2015 at a pressconference held in the Bulgarian News Agency on April 5, 2016. The report contains recommendations related to the access to information legal framework and its implementation, as well as other obligations granting transparency; detailed review of the amendments to the APIA as of December 2015; analysis of the 2015 APIA amendments with regard to the proactive publication of information online; what are the institutions addressed and what type of information was sought by the requestors who turned for legal help to AIP in 2015; tendencies in the court practices on access to information cases in 2015 and summaries of cases in which AIP has provided court representation.
The Access to Information Programme presents a collection of 37 cases of nongovernmental organizations which have used the procedures under the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) to seek and obtain information from public bodies and to defend their right to information in the court when being refused. The stories encompass the period 2005 – 2015 and are collected in the book “Public Participation and Access to Information (15 Years of the APIA, 37 Stories of NGOs)" which AIP has published in Bulgarian.
On January 29, 2016, the Access to Information Programme (AIP) held the national conference “Access to Information – an Instrument for Achieving Our Goals.” The conference was held in Sofia City Hotel and was dedicated to the amendments to the Access to Public Information Act (promulgated in the State Gazette on December 11, 2015). It was the concluding event of the project “Enhancing the Capacity of Nongovernmental Organizations to Seek Public Information,” supported by a grant under the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009 – 2014 (www.ngogrants.bg).
The 18-minutes educational movie illustrates the stages in searching and obtaining information from public bodies under the procedures of the Bulgarian Access to Public Information Act. It features cases of nongovernmental organizations and journalists who have used the procedures of the APIA, have filed requests to public bodies and have appealed access to information refusals in court.