The Access to Information Programme (AIP) held a workshop with the journalists from its coordinators’ network on 11-13 September 2015 in the city of Veliko Tarnovo. The workshop was held within the framework 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 (http://www.ngogrants.bg).
AIP Executive Director Gergana Jouleva opened the meeting on September 12 and presented the goals and the activities under the project as well as the funding programme.
The journalists – coordinators of AIP in the country presented detailed reports on the state of access to information during the first half of 2015. The coordinators in 19 regional cities presented statistics of the requests filed to the municipalities and the regional structures of the executive power bodies; the attitude of the administration towards the requestors; characteristics of the issued refusals, access to information litigation of citizens, journalists and NGOs. They outlined tendencies in the implementation of the obligations for access to information provision and the exercise of the right to information by citizens, NGOs and journalists.
Gergana Jouleva and Alexander Kashumov, head of AIP legal team, presented the amendments to the Access to Public Information ACT (APIA). The Draft Law on amendments was introduced in the National Assembly by the Council of Ministers in April 29, 2015. The two AIP experts took an active part in the public debate on the drafting of the amendments, presented AIP statement in the four parliamentary committees which heard the draft law in May 2015.
Stephan Anguelov from AIP legal team showed the opportunities that the Open Data Portal opens for searching and using the information it contains.
The AIP attorney-at-law Kiril Terziiski presented access to information court cases supported by AIP and court decisions delivered during the first half of 2015.
The AIP attorneys-at-law Darina Palova and Alexander Kashumov gave practical advices for using the APIA and public registers in the work of the journalists.
Diana Bancheva reminded about the categories under which everyone can nominate an NGO, a citizen, journalist or an institution for the Right to Know Day Awards. AIP will present the awards at a 28 September 2015 ceremony to be held in the House of Europe – Sofia on 3.00 pm.
This documents is created with the financial support of the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The whole responsibility for the content of the documents shall be taken by the Access to Information Programme Foundaiton and it cannot be assumed under any circumstances that the document reflects the official stance of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Programme for NGO support in Bulgaria. (www.ngogrants.bg)