Amendments to the Access to Public Information Act Passed First Reading in the Bulgarian National Assembly
On May 10, 2007, the draft amendments to the Access to Public Information
Act (APIA) were approved after first reading.
The amendments to the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) were introduced
by three MPs, members of three different parliamentary groups -
The amendments were justified with the need to transpose the Directive 2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Re-use of Public Sector Information. However, they would weaken the access regime of APIA.
The draft introduces a definition of public sector information
and of public sector bodies. These definitions overlap with
the existing definitions of public information and bodies
obliged to provide it. The amendments also introduce a parallel
procedure for access to public sector
Other main problems in the proposal are:
* the existing regime provides a right of everyone to obtain information
without proving his/her legal interest, while the amendments provide that
requestors shall be required to prove legal interest in the requested
The proposed amendments jeopardize the seven years of continuous efforts
of the civil society, media, courts, and public administration for better
The Bulgarian National Assembly approved the draft amendments after first reading despite:
* critical statements submitted by Access to Information Programme (AIP)
and supported by 1100 journalists, NGOs representatives, politicians,
In the week of 7-11 May 2007, MPs from one of the opposition parties in the National Assembly - the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) - introduced alternative amendments in the APIA, addressing the real points of the law to be improved. Obligations on the public institutions to actively disseminate information online, to appoint civil servants to work on the implementation of the law and to organize effective control and sanctioning procedure were proposed. These draft amendments will also transpose the Directive 2003/98/EC properly.
This week, MPs from the UDF introduced a proposal to dismiss a number of the provisions which already passed first reading with detailed arguments why they do not improve the APIA, but would rather have a clear reverse effect on its implementation and hence on government transparency.
The latter draft amendments were prepared by the AIP team and were introduced to the National Assembly by an MP from the UDF.
Access to Information Programme Team
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English Version Last Update: 18.05.2007 © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP