28 June 2007

In a final decision, as of June 28 2007, a Three-member panel of the SAC upheld the right of the journalist from bTV, Genka Shikerova, to obtain access to requested documents.

 

The journalist started court proceedings against the refusal of the Mayor of the Municipality of Nesebar to provide access to orders about transference of property rights and granting of construction rights to people in need. Journalistic investigation revealed that state officials and people from the judicial power in the region were among “the indigent.” The reason for the submission of the request by the journalist was her interest in the particular grounds on which those people were defined as having housing needs. The Mayor did not respond within the legally prescribed time frames. However, in a belated decision, he motivated a refusal with the protection of third parties’ personal data. In November 2006, the Regional Court of Burgas repealed the refusal as illegal. A three-member panel of the SAC upheld the decision of the first instance, rejecting the argument of the appellant – the Municipality of Nesebar – that the journalist had requested the same information twice. The judges stated that if the institution had not provided information at a request the first time it was submitted, the institution did not have the right to claim that it had responded to the same request within the last six months. AIP provided legal help during the litigation. At the 2006 Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony, Genka Shikerova was given the “Golden Key” Award in the category of a journalist who had most actively used the Access to Public Information Act.