On October 24, 2014, Access to Information Programme held a public discussion with lawyers and judges from administrative courts in the country and the Supreme Administrative court to discuss necessary amendments to the Access to Public Information Act (APIA). The forum took place in City Hotel, Sofia.
The discussion is the fifth and the last out of all 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.
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.
The draft bill for APIA amendments which would introduce the revised Directive 2013/37/EU on the Re-use of Public Sector Information was presented. The draft bill was prepared by a working group at the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications. AIP experts Gergana Jouleva and Alexander Kashumov took part in the working group which seated during the summer of 2014 and presented AIP statements at its sessions.
A summary of the discussed topics was published in AIP FOI monthly newsletter for October 2014 (in Bulgarian): http://www.aip-bg.org/publications/Бюлетин/Необходими_ли_са_промени_в_ЗДОИ/101517/1000486378/.
A memorandum with opinions and recommendations as a result of the discussion is published in the section “Statements and proposals”: http://www.aip-bg.org/publicdebate/Предложения_и_становища/208182/.