Parliament OKs Amendments to Bulgarian ATI Law

22 October 2015

The Bulgarian National Assembly on Oct. 6 adopted at first reading amendments to the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) that emphasize the publication of more documents online.

The amendments would expand the list of information to be published online and provide a timeline. The heads of public bodies would be tasked with reviewing proactive publication annually based on public demand. Administrative sanctions would be possible for noncompliance.

The government would be required to maintain a platform for filing e-requests, containing the responses of the public bodies and the documents provided. A procedure would be established for accepting e-requests and providing information by e-mail free of charge.

The amendments also would require establishment of an open data portal of government information sets and resources.
Not included in the legislation was a recommendation by the Access to Information Programme, a nongovernmental organization, for the establishment of an APIA oversight body.

Beginning in 2014, AIP began a nationwide campaign for improvements to the law that led to a government working group to draft amendments.

The second reading will occur after a report by the leading parliamentary committee and is when every amendment is voted. If adopted, the bill is sent to the President for promulgation.

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