Access to Information Programme (AIP) held the Eight Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony was held on 28 September in the Bulgarian News Agency, Sofia. Posters were disseminated in the countryside through AIP's coordinators network. Press releases were sent to national and regional media. The event was broadcast live on Internet. More than 60 media – national and local – covered the event. More than hundred people attended the ceremony.
You can watch video clips (in Bulgarian) from the 2010 Right to Know Day Awards Ceremony held by Access to Information Programme.
The awards committee has selected the winners in the six categories out of 45 nominations.
1. Best journalist story/campaign/publication related to the access to information right
The Golden Key Award for the most efficient use of the Access to Public Information Act in doing journalistic investigations was presented to Rosen Bosev from the Capital weekly. He is recognized with the award for the second time for his persistency and consistency in using the APIA for a number of investigations which he covered in the Capital weekly. With a series of articles from the spring of 2010, in cooperation with a colleague of his, Yovo Nikolov, Rosen Bosev revealed conflict of interests and wrongdoings among high standing magistrates.
Rosen Bosev’s investigations are always based on data obtained from public registers, or documents obtained via APIA. The journalist seeks defense of his right of access to information in the court. He is the leader in the campaign for openness of the contract between the Bulgarian government and the Microsoft company for software packages for the state administration, Rosen’s court case ongoing for a fourth successive year.
In 2010, the Cantek company kindly provided a present for the winner in the category for a journalist. Mr. Milcho Borov, president of the company, presented a Printer/Scanner/Copier to Rosen Bosev. “I will print my requests and appeals on it,” he said.
Honorary Diplomas in the same category were given to:
Two young journalists from Darik Radio – Plovdiv, Daniela Kovacheva and Victor Kadiri, for actively using the APIA to obtain information about the official trips of the Mayor of Plovdiv and his deputies.
Ms. Genka Shikerova, a reporter at bTV, a carrier of the Golden Key award for 2006, for requesting access to documents related to the contract of the Ministry of Interior and the Siemens Company with regard to the introduction of new identity cards in Bulgaria.
2. Citizen, who has most actively exercised his right to information
The Golden Key award for a citizen who has most actively exercised his right of information was given to Dr. George Litov for his persistency in searching for information regarding the treatment of stray dogs in several municipalities in the region of Plovdiv. Dr. Litov has used the procedures of APIA to obtain data regarding the control over stray dogs’ population in the period February 2008 – May 2009. He also challenged denials in court. His motivation for searching that type of information is the killing of thousands of dogs in violation of the Animal Protection Act.
Mr. Litov received a DVD player as a present from Technopolis Bulgaria.
Honorary Diplomas were given to:
Mr. Dancho Zaverdjiev, a citizen from the town of Lovech, who has actively used the APIA to obtain information of public interest from the Municipality of Lovech.
Mr. Vladimir Savov, an editor of a newspaper in the town of Vidin, who has filed requests for access to information in his capacity of ordinary citizen to obtain information from the Municipality of Vidin.
3. Non-governmental organization, which has most actively exersized its access to information right
The Association of Parks in Bulgaria was presented the Golden Key award as the nongovernmental organization which has most actively exercised its right to information. The Association is actively using the APIA to obtain environmental information, successfully challenging denials of information of public interest, and actively popularizing found wrongdoings. The NGO has initiated a campaign against an Order of the Ministry of Environment and Waters, which changed the payment procedure for incurred costs with regard to the provision of information. The order required payment via bank transfer only. As a result of the initiative, the order was repealed.
Honorary diplomas were given to:
An honorary diploma was presented to the The Association for Optimization of Justice and Administration SOPA, which was the winner in the category in 2009. The NGO has continued to actively use the APIA, publish all requests on its web site, the answers they receive from administrative bodies, as well as the documents received.
The Black Sea NGO Network was recognized for their active use of the APIA and popularization of the right to information through active cooperation with media and journalists and submission of information request for investigation purposes. Their experience, they have published in Practical Aspects in the Work of NGOs and Media With Regard to Access to Information (a summary in English also available).
4. Institution, which has most efficiently organized the provision of public information
In 2010, in view of the December 2008 amendments to the APIA which introduced an obligation for online publication of information, an award for The Best Web Site With Regard to the APIA was not presented. The criteria were incorporated in the category Institution, which has most efficiently organized the provision of public information.
The Municipality of Burgas is the winner of the 2010 Golden Key award as an institution which has most efficiently organized the provision of public information. The Municipality of Burgas has fulfilled its obligations for active publication of information online. Its web site contains complete, up-to-date information and easy to navigate Access to Information subsection in the main menu. The institution provides in timely manner information requested electronically.
The award was presented by the Director of the East Aegean Sea River Basin Directorate - Plovdiv, Ms. Atanaska Tuntova. The Directorate is the winner of the Golded Key for the most FOI friendly web site (2009) and the best institution (2008).
The West Aegean Sea River Basin Directorate - Blagoevgrad and the Regional Governor’s Administration – Razgrad were recognized with honorary diplomas in the category.
Two municipalities were recognized for violating citizens’ right to information.
The Padlock anti-award was given to the Municipality of Zlatitsa for not having a web site at all and for denying to provide information about a project aiming to increase the transparency of the municipal administration.
A Dishonorary Diploma was given to the Municipality of Sofia. The biggest municipality in Bulgaria has a well-maintained web site, but has not efficiently organized the provision of information and has generated a big number of silent refusals.
The Tied Key award for an absurd case with regard to access to information was bestowed to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office – Varna. The anti-award was earned by the statement of a deputy regional prosecutor who claimed that the reason for not executing a court decision instructing the provision of public information is the non-existence of the NGO-requestor in the legal world of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The organization and holding of the 2010 Right to Know Day in Bulgaria is supported by a grant from the is supported by a grant from the and a grant from the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
In 2010, Cantek Company provides a present for one of the winners in the categories for Golden Key Awards: Canon PIXMA MP260 Printer/Scanner/Copier. Technopolis Bulgaria also provides a present. Ciela Soft and Publishing and Damianitza JSC kindly contribute to the celebration of the Right to Know Day again.