The Access to Information Programme celebrated its 20th Anniversary on October 21, 2016.
The event was under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Rossen Plevneliev and was held in the Sofia Hotel Balkan.
The Access to Information Programme, one of the oldest East European nongovernmental organizations working in the freedom of information area, was established on October 23, 1996 in Sofia, Bulgaria with the mission to assist the exercise of the right of access to information.
In order to mark the achievements in the freedom of information area as a result of its efforts and cooperation with different groups of partners, the AIP invitied partners from Bulgaria and abroad to mark 20 years from its establishment, 20 years of work for freedom of information in Bulgaria.
Among the guests who delivered greeting speeches at the ceremony were the Constitutional Justice Mr. Konstantin Penchev, the Minister of Justice Ms. Ekaterina Zaharieva, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands Mr. Tom van Oorschot, Mr. Lenko Lenkov, representative of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, Ms. Ekaterina Boncheva, member of the Committee for Disclosing the Files of the Former Security Services.
Since its establishment in 1996, the AIP has been monitoring the state of access to information in Bulgaria; has been providing free legal aid in access to information cases; has been supporting journalistic investigations on topics of public interest; has been organizing trainings and running raising awareness campaigns on the right of access to information.
As a result of its 20 years’ of work, the AIP has contributed to:
- The adoption of the Access to Public Information Act in 2000 and its positive amendments in 2007, 2008, 2015;
- The submission of over 5, 500 requests of citizens, journalists, NGOs and business for access to thousands of documents.
- Successful litigation in 400 FOI court cases;
- Laws better guaranteeing civil liberties by submitting more than 60 analyses and comments;
- The free access to the Trade Companies Register in the Internet;
- The free access to the online State Gazette;
- The free access to the online Register of Assets of High Ranking Officials;
- The free access to the documents of the former State Security Services for the purposes of personal scrutiny or investigations;
- Proactive publication of the minutes from the government sessions;
- Online publication of government contracts and related documents;
Recently, the AIP has launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to support the Freedom of Information Cause in Bulgaria: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/28-september-right-to-know-day-awards-ceremony#/.