Bulgarian AIP Offers Proposals in Annual Report

15 July 2011

The Access to Information Programme (AIP) in Bulgaria has identified persistent problems facing those seeking government information and made a series of recommendations.

The eleventh annual report containing the information — Access to Information in Bulgaria 2010  — is now available in English online.

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, the group also noted.

Recommendations Made

 The report includes a series of recommendations:

  • 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 report also covers legislative initiatives, the results of AIP audit on institutional web sites, and information on litigation.

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