The Access to Information Programme (AIP) Annual Report Access to Information in Bulgaria 2010 is now available in English online.
The Report was presented at a press conference at the National News Agency on May 4, 2011.
The eleventh Access to Information in Bulgaria Annual Report contains practical recommendations for improving access to information in Bulgaria.
Based on the detailed analysis of the legislation, the specifics of the access to information cases referred to AIP for legal help, the assessment of the active disclosure of information online, and the access to information litigation in 2010, AIP identifies several persisting problems:
- Lack of unified practices in terms of active provision of access to information;
- Lack of an oversight and coordination body in terms of access to information provision;
- Unclear responsibilities regarding the control and the imposition of sanctions for unfulfilled obligations, including online publication of information;
- Lack of official policy for permanent trainings of officials responsible under the Access to Public Information Act;
- Lack of awareness about the accumulated litigation experience in institutional practices of information provision;
- The declared policy of transparency is not bound to budget transparency and more precisely to the transparency of public bodies’ contracts.
In 2010, the Bulgarian government did not undertake any measures to start the procedure of signing and ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents.
Based on the analysis of the access to information practices, AIP recommends:
- To authorize a specific public body to supervise and coordinate the APIA implementation activities, including the online publication of information;
- To change the officials responsible for finding and sanctioning non-compliance with the APIA so that they shall not coincide with the officials subject to sanctioning;
- To extend the scope of administrative sanctions under the APIA so that they would also cover not responding in the legally prescribed form;
- The inspectorates shall undertake their functions regarding inspections and control over the APIA implementation;
- To start imposing sanctions for officials non-complying with the provisions of the Access to Public Information Act;
- The implementation of the obligations for active disclosure of information online to be set as priority;
- Unification of the Internal APIA Implementation Rules;
- Transparency of the contracts of the authorities;
- Review and amendment to the Minister of Finance Order No. 10 of the of 2001 for determining the fees for the provision of information;
- Assisting information requestors to become an attitude of the APIA responsible officials.
- the legislative initiatives regarding public access to information in 2010;
- the results of AIP audit on institutional web sites;
- the characteristics of access to information cases referred to AIP for legal help during 2010;
- the most interesting developments in the FOI litigation in 2010 including summaries of cases in which AIP has provided court representation
The Report is published with the financial support of the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE Trust) in the framework of the project Support to Access to Information Programme as a Freedom of Information Civic Resource Center (FOICRC), and America for Bulgaria Foundation in the framework of the project Responding to the New Demand for Freedom of Information.