06 January 2005

On Tuesday, 6 January 2005, the Bulgarian government adopted draft amendments of the Protection of Classified Information Act, seeking for easier destruction of classified documents (without any exposure in public eye before that) and shifting the decision-making power on that issue from the Commission under the Act to the authorities that hold the documents. In fact, the draft is not public yet. Access to Information Programme (AIP) is anxious about the lack of transparency of the draft and of a preliminary public discussion. We are worried that the already known changes are clearly bad. There is a concern that the uncontrolled discretion given to public authorities to decide on the destruction of their documents, without publishing them before that, would make it possible to easily delete data about wrong-doings. Another problem, communicated in the debate after the changes were announced, was that the former state security services' files are also threatened by deletion. That is because the draft amendments do not distinguish between destruction of current and former documents. So, AIP already started severe criticism through media.