05 December 2008

On December 5, 2008, key amendments to the Bulgarian Access to Public Information Act were promulgated. The amendments reflect necessary changes which AIP has formulated and recommended in 2007 and 2008 in its annual reports Access to Information in Bulgaria. They were introduced through two draft laws that according to the rules for the work of the National Assembly were combined before the parliamentarian vote.


The amendments introduce extended scope of obliged bodies by including the regional offices of the central authorities; and bodies financed under EU programs and funds; the obligation for the provision of partial access to information; the obligation for proactive publication of information online; and the public interest test.


Draft amendments were first introduced by Martin Dimitrov and a group of MPs from the opposition Union of Democratic Forces on May 28, 2008. Proposed amendments were based on recommendations for necessary amendments to the APIA, formulated by AIP in 2007 and 2008 and presented in AIP’s Annual Reports Access to Information in Bulgaria.


The second draft was introduced on July 4, 2008 by the Chairperson of the Combating Corruption Committee and a group of MPs. That second draft for amendments to the APIA is related to the better regulation of the right of access to information in terms of the trade secret exemption. AIP took part in the working group and submitted statements and comments on the draft amendments to the APIA with regard to the overriding public interest to disclose information. The discussion initiated by the Combating Corruption Committee was partly triggered by analyses and recommendations published in AIP annual reports Access to Information in Bulgaria.


AIP presented opinion statements and took part in all sessions of the parliamentary committees which approved the drafts (European Affairs Committee and the State Administration Affairs Committee), including the leading Civil Society and Media Parliamentary Committee.



Access to Information Programme Team