Since 2003, Access to Information Programme (AIP) presents awards for contribution to the freedom of information in Bulgaria. We present the awards at special ceremonies that we hold on September 28 – the International Right to Know Day.
An awards committee selects the winners in different categories out of dozens of nominations.
AIP presents the “Golden Key” awards to citizens, journalists, and NGOs, who have actively exercised their right of access to information. We also award institutions which have most efficiently organized the provision of access to information to the public and has been most open and transparent to citizens.
To dishonor bad practices of not respecting the right of access to information we give the "Padlock" anti-award for the most non-transparent institution. We also give an anti-award for a most absurd/funny administrative decision on an access to information request - the "Tied Key."
Citizens are the most active seekers of information. They seek for information related to their personal investigations or for the purposes of ongoing court proceedings. Citizens seek for information related to the everyday life of small communities, but also to national projects and policies. In order to be recognized with the “Golden Key” award, citizens should be persistent and consistent in their search for information and use the procedures of the Access to Public Information Act (APIA), including the initiation of a court case. It is also important that the information that is being sought is of public significance.
NGOs working in public interest often face non-transparency of institutions and refusals of public information in their work. In order to be recognized with an award, an NGO should have consistently and persistently sought public information, have used all procedures under the APIA, have used the obtained information for reports and other publications.
Journalists usually need information related to the work of the public bodies immediately and use the APIA more seldom. One of the criteria for recognizing a journalistic story or campaign with a Golden Key is that the APIA is used to reveal facts and verify data. The journalistic publication should focus on an issue of public significance. The professional quality of the publication is also important.
The institutions that are recognized with the Golden Key award should be excellent in the level of implementation of the APIA, but should also introduce new and positive practices for better provision of access to information and for enhancing the transparency and accountability of the institution.
That is why AIP used to present an award for the Most FOI Friendly Institutional Web Site even before the introduction of the obligation for the active disclosure of information online.
A “Padlock” anti-award is given to an institution which does not fulfill the obligations under the APIA and violates the right to information.
A “Tied Key” anti-award is given for a funny or/and absurd decision on an access to information request.