On June 3, 2014, Access to Information Programme held a public discussion with journalists from national electronic and print media in order to discuss necessary amendments to the Access to Public Information Act. The forum took place in City Hotel, Sofia.
The journalists who took part in the discussion are active users of the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) for the purposes of their reporting and investigations, bring refusals of public bodies to court with the assistance of AIP and cover extensively issues related to government transparency, openness and accountability.
The discussion with journalists is the first out of five planned public discussions with interested groups within the project “Advocacy Campaign for Amendments to the Access to Information Legislation,” 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 discussion was focused on five main areas identified as problematic on the base of access to information practices which AIP has been monitoring:
- Precision and unification of the standards for proactive disclosure of information;
- Introduction of clear obligations to respond to e-requests and provide information electronically;
- Precision of the access to information exemptions;
- Strengthening and imposing of the sanctions for incompliance with the APIA;
- The need for oversight and control over the APIA implementation - establishment of an Information Commissioner.
A memorandum with opinions and recommendations as a result of the discussion will be published in the section “Statements and proposals”: http://www.aip-bg.org/publicdebate/Предложения_и_становища/208182/.
Pictures from the discussion are available: http://www.aip-bg.org/about/gallery/105582/.
The other four discussions will be with bloggers, IT specialists, and business; NGOs and active citizens; APIA responsible officials; and lawyers and judges.
On 24 June 2014, the discussion with bloggers, IT specialists, and business will be held.
On 4 July 2014 – with NGOs and active citizens.
Everyone is invited to submit a statement or opinion with regard to necessary amendments to the Access to Public Information Act by sending an e-mail: APIAconsult@aip-bg.org.