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Convicted criminals donated huge sums to the Bulgarian Inferior Ministry: Sega Daily journalists found this scandalous fact not by talking to some whistle-blower, but by applying... the Access to Public Information Act, or APIA. This won them the Golden Key for Media Award for 2011.

The Golden Key Awards are an annual event organised by the Access to Information Programme, or AIP, a foundation dedicated to the popularisation of APIA in Bulgaria. They were established in 2003 and are held every 28 September, the international The Right to Know Day.

AIP gives several awards in the form of golden keys to individuals and organisations for achievements in applying the APIA. The Parliament passed the law in 2000. However, its implementation continues to be problematic as many Bulgarian institutions are still reluctant to share information of public interest with the public.

The Golden Key for Citizen went to architect Kalina Pavlova from Varna. She has dedicated herself to bringing transparency into the way the so-called Alley One in Varna will be built up and the changes in the General Construction Plan of the Varna Municipality.

The Varna-based Public Environmental Centre for Sustainable Development get the Golden Key for NGO. It applied the APIA extensively in its quest to lighten the ways the municipalities in Bulgaria have achieved and spend money of European funds.

Sega's Media Award was well deserved. After days of hesitation, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov finally put an end to private donations and promised an online register of all ministry sponsors will be created.

The Golden Key for Institution was awarded to the Bulgarian National Audit Office for its well organised website which completely adheres to the APIA and other transparency requirements.

Every year AIP gives two negative awards to institutions who fail to apply the APIA.

The Golden Padlock for Failing Institution went the Vidin Municipality. It has an years-long history of refusals to give access of public information to citizens and journalists, forcing them to take court actions.

The Tied Key for most absurd refusal for access to information went to Parking and Garages company, Blagoevgrad. Read carefully, as it is a real Catch 22 situation. The company agreed that it is a subject of the APIA but still refused to give out its Code of Conduct because... it wasn't of public interest.

For the first time, the award ceremony opened with a song. "Breathe" was written on request by the AIP by Mihail Yosifov (music) and Mariy Rosen (lyrics). Androniya Popova and Yosifov himself performed the song.

The AIP was established in 1996. The foundation aims to improve the implementation of the APIA. It helps citizens and organisations to access public information from Bulgarian institutions and raises public awareness on the issue. Learn more on

Read 2456 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 14:10

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