The first public event - training, for journalists and citizens of the project "Citizens for Transparent Local Government in Pleven District", implemented by the Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation, with the financial support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, took place on July 2 in the art hall of the Rostov Hotel.
The training was led by lawyer Alexander Kashumov.
Lawyer Kashamov has been working as a legal expert in the non-governmental organization "Access to Information Program" (AIP) since 1997, he is the head of its legal team. Under his leadership, AIP has so far supported and conducted over 500 cases under the Access to Public Information Act. In 2001, he successfully conducted the first two anti-discrimination cases in Bulgaria, before the adoption of the Law on Protection against Discrimination, and later cases against segregation, denial of education, eviction and police violence. He has represented numerous journalists and media outlets in the last 20 years on lawsuits and defamation lawsuits. Lawyer Kashamov won the cases of Sashov and others v. Bulgaria (2010), Kasabova (2011), Idakiev (2011), Hadjiev (2012), Boykanov (2016), Aneva and others. (2017), Yonchev (2017), Kostov and others. (2020), National Eco-publicity Movement (2020) before the European Court of Human Rights.
Namely the topics “Freedom of expression. Protection of publications in insult and defamation cases”were discussed in the first part of the training.
Journalists and active citizens from Pleven took part in it. They listened with great attention to the cases presented by lawyer Kashumov from his practice, most of them - recent, including those on which there is no final decision. Lawyer Kashamov gave valuable advice on how to look for sources of information, when we can be sure of the reference to their information and how best to protect them, he spoke about the protection of personal data, the level of publicity, the public interest and the law in private space. He illustrated the topics with specific cases and was impressed by the interest of the audience, who wanted to hear all the cases from his law practice.
After the break, the training continued with the topic "Ethical standards. Right to information and use of public registers'. Alexander Kashumov presented statistical data on the trends in the use of the Law on Access to Public Information. Lawyer Kashamov is the longest-serving (since 2006) member of the National Commission on Journalistic Ethics, and in the period 2015-2019 its chairman also told what cases the commission deals with.
Attendees asked questions and shared personal experiences.
In the post-training survey, they said they were fully prepared to apply for access to information. Most indicated that they would do so in order to gain clarity on issues of public importance, such as how to select streets for repairs, how to allocate funds to municipal budgets, specific public procurement, cases of suspected conflict of interest and others.
The work on the project "Citizens for Transparent Local Government" of the Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation continues with research, analysis and surveys. The project also plans to publish a series of author's materials.