Minutes of Meetings of the Head of State are Official Information and Shall Be Released to the Public 30.11.2010
With a decision as of November 11, 2010, the Bulgarian court compelled the President Georgi Parvanov to disclose minutes of the meeting with the former Russian President Vladimir Putin held in January 2008. The complaint against the silent refusal of the President’s administration was brought by the journalist Lachezar Lisicov with the help of Access to Information Programme (AIP). The minutes were of a huge public interest as crucial energy projects and strategy were discussed during the meeting.
AIP held a meeting with the coordinators from the country and journalists from local and regional media 26.11.2010
The meeting was held on November 26, 2010 in Dessislava Hall in Grand Hotel Bulgaria, Sofia. The purpose of the meeting was to make a review of the results achieved within the three-years project Local Media and Freedom of Information in Bulgaria, financed through the MATRA program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by AIP in cooperation with the The Management & Media Academy/Free Voice. Remarks and conclusions were shared by the Dutch FOI expert Roger Vleugels who took part in the 26 training seminars held in the regional cities in the Country. Mr. Martijn Elgersma, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia.
Buying/Selling the Danube Coast (10 Years Access to Public Information Act, 60 stories by journalists) 01.11.2010
On 26 November 2010, AIP presented its new book Buying/Selling the Danube Coast (10 Years Access to Public Information Act, 60 stories by journalists).
On September 28, 2010 AIP held the Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony for the eighth successive year. Over 100 representatives of NGOs, public officials, journalists, lawyers, partners, and friends of AIP attended the ceremony held in the Bulgarian News Agency. You can watch seven video clips covering the 2010 Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony in Bulgaria.
In 4-6 October 2010, AIP held the last three training workshops with journalists from local media in the towns of Haskovo, Kardjali, and Smolyan. Kiril Terziiski, a lawyer at the AIP legal team presented cases of journalistic investigations completed with the help of the Access to Public Information Act and following litigation proceedings in cases of denials. Tactics for successful use of the law by journalists were also presented. The Dutch FOI expert, Mr. Roger Vleugels, presented tactics and cases of journalists from Holland. The movie Media and Access to Information - Five Investigative Reporter Stories was shown at all workshops.
The Eight Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony was held on 28 September in the Bulgarian News Agency, Sofia. Posters were disseminated in the countryside through AIP's coordinators network. Press releases were sent to national and regional media. The event was broadcast live on Internet. More than 60 media – national and local – covered the event. More than hundred people attended the ceremony.
Bulgarian Parliament Willing to Ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents 26.07.2010
To mark ten years of the adoption of the Bulgarian Access to Public Information Act (APIA), Access to Information Programme organized a conference on July 26, 2010. The conference was held under the auspices of the Chairperson of the Bulgarian National Assembly Ms. Tsetska Tsacheva. The purpose of the conference was to discuss possibilities of Bulgaria’s accession to the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents on the base of ten years experience of the Access to Public Information Act implementation. Bulgarian APIA is in act since July 7, 2000.
In a joint letter as of 22 June 2010, more than 100 organisations from 23 European countries asked EU Commissioners Malmström, Reding and Kroes to "propose the repeal of the EU requirements regarding data retention in favour of a system of expedited preservation and targeted collection of traffic data".
AIP statement on Proposed Instructions on Correct Processing of Data Collected by Intercept Devices 12.05.2010
On May 12, 2010, AIP submitted an Opinion Statement to the State Commission on Information Security with regard to the proposed mandatory instructions on the correct processing with data collected by intercept devices.
According to Appendix No. 1, List of Categories of Information Subject to Classification as State Secret, to Art. 25 of the Protection of Classified Information Act (PCIA), such information shall be classified. This puts a serious obstacle to the civil control over the interference with the fundamental right to privacy.
On April 29, 2010 Access to Information Programme held a presconference in the Bulgarian News Agency to present its annual report Access to Information in Bulgaria 2009
In 12-14 April 2010, AIP held three more training workshops with journalists from local media in the towns of Pazardjik, Plovdiv and Stara Zagora.
The project Responding to the New Demand for Freedom of Information is supported by a grant for 36-month period of the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) assists in the development and growth of a vibrant private sector for the benefit of a free and democratic Bulgaria.Founded in 2008, the ABF is a successor to the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund, an investment fund created by the U.S. government acting through the U.S. Agency for International Development. The grants provided by ABF will build on the legacy of goodwill and friendship that exists between the American people and the citizens of Bulgaria.
Bulgarian Committee for Disclosing the Documents of the Former State Security Services Awarded Access to Information Programme for Contribution to the Opening of the Archives 08.04.2010
On April 8, 2010, in the New Conference Hall of the Sofia University Kliment Ohridski, on its third anniversary, the Committee for Disclosing the Documents and Announcing Affiliation of Bulgarian citizens to the State Security and the Intelligence Services of the Bulgarian National Army gave awards to two nongovernmental organizations and two journalists. Access to Information Programme (AIP) was recognized with a plaque for contribution to the opening of the archives of the communist secret services and a diploma for strengthening the reputation of the Committee.
On March 16, 2010, at a press conference at the Bulgarian News Agency, AIP and Market LINKS presented the results from two surveys:
Assessment of the Internet sites of the institutions from the point of view of the Access to Public Information Act; and
Representative public opinion poll on public attitudes regarding the right of access to information.
Access to Information Programme Launched a Campaign on New Standards in Access to Information 09.02.2010
In order to enhance the execution of the right of access to information in Bulgaria in line with 2008 amendments to the Access to Public Information Act and push for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, Access to Information Programme (AIP) initiated Public Awareness Campaign on New Standards in the Access to Information Area. The campaign is supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism.
The meeting with the journalists from the coordinators’ network was held on February 5, 2010. The meeting was organized within the project Local Media and Freedom of Information in Bulgaria, financed through the MATRA program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ms. Gergana Jouleva, AIP executive director, made and overview of the key achievements of AIP during the past 2009. Results are presented in the annual report of the organization. The goals and tasks of the coordinators’ network for 2010 were outlined. AIP gave the Coordinator of the Year Award for a third successive year.
During 2009 a large number of lawsuits for access to information were brought with the AIP legal support. As in previous years some court battles have been successful, others have been lost. Some, such as the story related to the contract between the Bulgarian administration and Microsoft have been again postponed. The rich case law allows us to draw some conclusions and trends in the court practice.