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2017
15th Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony in Bulgaria - 28 September 2017
 
The Access to Information Programme held the 15th Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony on 28 September 2017.
 
Nearly 100 FOI activists from Sofia and the country gathered at the Literature club Peroto (The Quill) in the National Palace of Culture – Sofia. Among the guests were partner NGOs, journalists, academia; officials from executive bodies and municipalities.
 
The 2017 Right to Know Day Awards Jury selected the winners in six categories out of 45 nominations received through the special web site www.RightToKnowDay.net, AIP e-mail or sent by AIP coordinators in the country. The nominations represent FOI success stories of citizens, NGOs, and journalists.
 
The 2016 RKD Awards Ceremony opened with the song “Breathe” which was composed in 2011 and dedicated to the event.
 
In 2017, the celebration of the Right to Know Day was possible due to the generosity of backers in the AIP crowdfunding campaign in the Indiegogo: https://igg.me/at/irtkd2017-Bulgaria/x
 
Pictures from the ceremony are uploaded at AIP web site http://www.aip-bg.org/about/gallery/101402/ and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AIPbulgaria/timeline/.
 
Interviews with the awardees were published in the AIP monthly FOI neswletter (in Bulgarian): http://www.aip-bg.org/publications/Бюлетин/Брой/102913/.
 
The 2017 Right to Know Day Awards winners are:

 

 
Awarded Citizens
 
The Golden Key award for a citizen who has most actively exercised their right of information was given to Mr. Dimitar Petsov from the city of Silistra. He was recognized with the award for consistent and persistent use of the Access to Public Information Act (APIA) to obtain information, for his sound citizen position, expressed with the campaign “Mr. Mayor, How Long?” and his general sensitivity towards work of the local authorities in Silistra.


 
Awarded NGO

 
The 2017 Golden Key award for an NGO went to Environmental Association “For the Earth – Access to Justices” and the Greenpeace – Bulgaria for their joint active and effective use of the Access to Public Information Act in the national clean air campaign. They requested access to the hourly data on the air quality in Sofia, challenged the refusal before the court and run an effective media campaign raise public awareness on the problems with the air pollution.  
 
An honorary diploma was given to:

The National Network
for Children for consistent and efficient use of the Access to Public Information Act in the preparation of the independent monitoring report “What are the Average Grades of the State in the Child Care Area?” which has had a significant impact on changing the policies.
 
Awarded Journalist
 
The Golden Key Award for the most efficient use of the APIA by a journalist was presented to Mr. Ilia Valkov for his persistent and impactful use of the APIA, including the defence of the right to information in the court, for access to the minutes of consultations chaired by the President on 14 July 2014, recording a discussion addressing the problems of the Bulgarian financial system following the bankruptcy of the 4th biggest commercial bank (KTB) in the country.

 
Honorary diplomas were given to:
 
Marieta Dimitrova from the Blagoevgrad News for using the APIA in her investigation on the connections between the companies contracted for the rehabilitation and renovation of housing buildings in Blagoevgrad and the deputy mayor and members of the Municipal Council. As a result of the revelations, the deputy mayor filed his resignation and the Prosecutor’s Office started investigation;
  
Samuil Dimitrov from the Sega Daily for using the APIA and for making publications based on the obtained information aiming to cast light and make more transparent and accountable the institutions within the system of the Ministry of Interior.
 
“Bivol” web site for using the APIA to prepare a number of its publications and in investigations on issues of high public importance, especially those related to the stability of the bank sector in Bulgaria.
 
Awarded Institutions
 
The Ministry of Finance was recognized with the Golden Key award in the category for an institution which has most efficiently organized the provision of public information. The ministry ranks first in the AIP 2017 Active Transparency Rating and has duly and efficiently implemented the obligations under the APIA. 
 
Honorary Diplomas were given to:
 
The Regional Inspectorate on Environment and Waters – Pazardzhik for keeping up the good work in the high level of active transparency, timely responses to access to information requests, and provision of assistance to the requestors.
 
Municipality of Dolna Mitropolia for their achievements in the active transparency, evidenced by the big leap in the AIP Active Transparency Rating from 236th place in 2016 to 16th place in 2017.
 
Anti – Awards
 
The Padlock anti-award was given to the Municipality of Varna for not publishing and for refusing to provide information about the implementation of the project “Integrated Public Transport in the City of Varna,” as well as the practice of anti-dating the decisions on access to information requests after the filing of a complaint against a silent refusal.
 
A Dishonorary Diplomas were presented to:
 
The Sofia Municipality for the big number of authorized official within the public body which makes it unclear who is responsible for the provision of the information; for the systemic refusals on the grounds of “act for internal official use,” which the court has been systematically repealing; for not publishing the mayor’s acts on the web site of the institution where the requestors seeking access to these documents are referred.
 
The Municipality of Belovo for the continuous practices of not responding to access to information requests.

 
The Tied Key anti-award for an absurd access to information case was given to the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria for adopting a number of laws in a non-transparent way in violation of the requirements for public consultation, and for also remaining silent to an access to information request.


 


28 September – International Right To Know Day
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