Trainings and seminars

Access to Information Programme frequently conducts trainings and seminars on implementation of freedom of information legislation in Bulgaria and the region of Southeast Europe. These trainings are attended by representatives of local and national government administrations, journalists, NGOs, and citizens, and are presented with the assistance of several Bulgarian and international partners. You can find descriptions and materials from some of our past trainings, seminars, and conferences below.

Access to Information Programme Launched a Campaign on New Standards in Access to Information. In order to enhance the execution of the right of access to information in Bulgaria in line with 2008 amendments to the Access to Public Information Act and push for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, Access to Information Programme (AIP) initiated Public Awareness Campaign on New Standards in the Access to Information Area. The campaign is supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism.

Successful tactics for the use of APIA by journalists

In 2008 and 2009, AIP has organized and held workshops with journalists from local media in twenty Bulgarian cities within the implementation of the project Local Media and Freedom of Information in Bulgaria, financed by the MATRA Programme of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At these seminars, cases of journalistic investigations completed with the help of the APIA and following litigation proceedings were presented. Tactics for successful use of the law by journalists were also presented. The Dutch FOI expert, Mr. Roger Vleugels, presented tactics and cases of journalists from Holland. The special documentary “Media and Access to Information - Five Investigative Reporter Stories” which presents five emblematic access to information litigation proceedings of journalists from national media was shown at all workshops and copies were left for broadcast by local TV stations. The movie is accessible at: http://www.aip-bg.org/matra/documentaryen.php with English and Russian subtitles.
Also, the thirty-minute documentary Right to Know Day is distributed among the participants.

National “Access to Information Litigation in Bulgaria” Conference was organized and held on March 27, 2009 in Sofia. The conference was organized and held by AIP in the frame of the project Promotion of Open Government through FOI Legal Assistance and Litigation, financed by the Open Society Institute, Human Rights and Governance Grants Program, Budapest.

Among the 90 participants were lawyers, judges from administrative courts, representatives of NGOs, media, activists, citizens who have submitted ATI requests and have appealed refusals in the court. The Chairperson of the Supreme Administrative Court, Mr. Konstantin Penchev addressed the audience at the opening. Foreign experts from Ukraine, Georgia, Spain, Macedonia, the Netherlands, and UK took part in the conference.
Experience in the defense of the right of access to information at an European level was shared by Mr. Tony Bunyan (Director of Statewatch), Ms. Eva Moraga (Legal Advisor, Access Info Europe), and Roger Vleugels (Dutch FOI expert), Mr. Roman Romanov (Rule of Law Program Director at the International Renaissance Foundation Ukraine), and Mr. Roger Vleugels (Dutch FOI expert).
Among the topics discussed were the 2008 amendments to the Bulgarian Access to Public Information Act; issues and results from AIP litigation practices on the Access to Public Information Act during 2005-2008; the trade secret and protection of personal data exemption; preparatory documents exemption; access to information and classified information; the scope of the definition of information; the execution of court judgments. Please, refer to the agenda of the conference http://www.aip-bg.org/pdf/agenda2009_eng.pdf.
Pictures from the conference can be viewed here.

International Freedom of Information Litigation Conference - Lessons Learned was held on 25-26 November 2005 in Sofia, Bulgaria

The conference was organized by Access to Information Programme Foundation with the support of the Council of Europe. Participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Rumania, Moldova, Albania, Hungary, the Check Republic, Armenia, Georgia, the Netherlands, and the USA visited Sofia to take part in the event.

The conference covered the following main topics: Freedom of Information Litigation –General Overview; FOI Litigation as Advocates Strategy; Challenging Freedom of Information Exemptions though Litigation; Effects of Freedom of Information Litigation.

Agenda: Acrobat PDF 211Kb


- Cases summaries, National Security Archive - USA
- The Constitutional Court Case, Adam Foldes, HCLU - Hungaria
- First FOI litigation experience in Croatia, Milena Gogic, Croatian Helsinki Committee
- The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s FOI lawsuits, Adam Foldes, HCLU - Hungaria
- FOI Procedure in Republic of Macedonia, Klime Babunsky, ProMedia - Republic of Macedonia
- Freedom of Information Litigation Resources on the Web, National Security Archive - USA
- Free Access to Information - Monitoring the Implementation of the Access to Public Information Acts in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia by Public authorities, Final Report, Serbia
- Access to Information on Government Deliberations, Darian Pavli - Open Society Justice Initiative
- FOI Litigation in Bulgaria, Alexander Kashumov, Access to Information Programme - Bulgaria
- Freedom of Information Act in the Netherlands, Roger Vleugels - the Netherlands
- Overview of FOI Litigation in Hungary, Adam Foldes, HCLU - Hungaria
- Personal Data and FOI conflicts related to the access to the Archives, Amira Krehic - Bosnia & Herzegovina
- Access to Commercial Information, Darian Pavli - Open Society Justice Initiative
- Challenging of FOI Exemptions through Litigation, Effects of the Constitutional Court Case, Adam Foldes, HCLU - Hungaria
- Free Access to Information survey as a Way to Strategic Litigation in Serbia, Dejan Milenkovic, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights - Belgrade

The Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet) celebrates International Right to Know Day.

At a press conference on Sep. 28, 2004, AIP presented awards to citizens, media and NGOs who have actively exercised their rights to freedom of information. Two awards - a positive and a negative one - were given to public institutions. Other FOIAnet members who celebrated on September 28 can be found here.

Government transparency under scrutiny in South-East Europe

Government officials and civil society groups from across Southeast Europe met in Budva, Montenegro, on September 9-10, 2004 to discuss how Southeast European countries plagued by corruption and low public trust in government can benefit from greater transparency

"Advocacy for Freedom of Information - Independent Monitoring" Regional Conference

On May 14-15 2004 in Sofia, AIP brought together a number of organizations focusing on monitoring and advocacy for FOI implementation to present their experience in the area. The conference was financially supported by the Council of Europe/Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

"Implementation of the Freedom of Information Laws- Litigation"

AIP organized this workshop on _____ within the framework of the project "Freedom of Information Litigation", financially supported by Open Society Institute - Budapest. Lawyers from countries where the right to access is regulated by law (Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary) as well as countries where Access to Information Laws are about to be adopted (Armenia, Macedonia, Russia, Croatia, Montenegro, etc.) were invited to participate. The participants presented the FOI regulations in their countries, the practices on access to information, and experiences with litigation.

"Access to Public Information Act and the Recommendations of the Council of Europe" Round Table

On May 21 in the Radisson hotel in Sofia, AIP organized this forum for journalists, MPs, foreign experts, and jurists to discuss the proposed Amendments to APIA and Recommendation R(2002)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on access to official documents. This program was made possible with the financial support of the Government of Luxemburg.

AIP and ABA CEELI held the following training workshops for representatives from the the local administration and territorial branches of the executive power:

  • June 2002- Varna (19.06) and Bourgas (21.06)- Varna, Bourgas, Dobrich, Shumen, Sliven and Jambol.
  • April 30, 2002- Rousse - Rousse, Razgrad, Targowishte, and Silistra
  • April 19, 2002- Montana- Vidin, Vraca and Montana
  • March 2002- Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo - Gabrovo, Haskovo, Kardzali, Lovech, Pazardzik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Smolian, Stara Zagora, and V. Tarnovo.

These seminars for public officials in the administration aimed to create a better understanding during the implementation period of APIA.

"The Condition of the Access to Information in Bulgaria"

On May 10, 2002 Access to Information Programme Foundation organized this seminar in Adacta Hall of Rila Hotel. AIP presented the Personal Data Protection Act, Protection of Classified Information Act, Recommendation R(2002)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on access to official documents, and the draft amendments to APIA. During the second part of the seminar the team of AIP presented the Register of Administrative Structures and Acts of Executive Power Bodies. Concrete cases and court appeals were also discussed.

Training Workshop for Central Administration

On February 14 and 15, 2002 in "Adacta" hall of Rila hotel, Access to Information Programme, together with Article 19 - Global Campaign for Free Expression, held this workshop for representatives from central administration on the fulfillment of their obligations under APIA. The workshop was organized within the framework of the project "Practical Access to Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe" financially supported by European Commission.

Presentation of "Fulfillment of the Obligations under APIA by the Bodies of the Executive Power"

On January 11, 2002 in "Adacta" hall of Rila hotel Access to Information Programme Foundation presented a report on this sociological survey . The authors of the report are Gergana Jouleva, (AIPF) and Docho Mihailov of Agency for Socio-economic Analysis (A.S.A.). The survey was conducted by the Access to Information Programme Foundation (AIPF) and A.S.A. The report was published in the frame of the project "Advocacy for the Implementation of APIA and Judicial Review" financially supported by the Open Society Foundation - Sofia. You can find detailed information on the seminar here.

"International standards in freedom of information. Bulgarian legislation. Practices"

On December 17, 2001 in Nova Zagora the Access to Information Programme Foundation team organized a seminar . AIPF team had been invited by the Nova Zagora municipality administration and organized the workshop in the town. Gergana Jouleva, AIP Executive Director, presented the mission, goals, and priorities of the organization. Fany Davidova, AIP, presented the procedures for seeking and providing information according to Bulgarian legislation and practices while AIP lawyer Alexander Kashumov presented the international standards in the freedom of information area and the draft law for the Protection of Classified Information. In the discussion that followed the presentations, a debate ensued over the draft law on the Protection of Personal Data. On December 18, 2001 the AIP team conducted a training workshop in Karnobat.

Workshop on Implementation of APIA

Access to Information Programme organized a training workshop on 22-23.02 2001, Sofia, Bulgaria on the implementation of Access to Public Information Act (APIA). In this meeting participated representatives from local government administration; regional government administration and representatives from variety associations of municipalities in Bulgaria. The meeting was held according to the project Practical Access to Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. ARTICLE 19 - International center against censorship has the leading role and AIP is the Bulgarian partner in the project.

English Version • Last Update:12.11.2004• © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP