Bulgarian MPs lodge Constitutional Court challenge to personal data protection law

Bulgaria’s Constitutional Court said on March 20 that it has received a request by 55 MPs to rule on the constitutionality of recent amendments to the country’s personal data protection act.

The law was amended earlier this year to transpose the European Union’s general data protection regulation (GDPR), but some of its provisions raised concerns that the changes could have a negative impact on media freedom.

President Roumen Radev vetoed the provision that listed 10 criteria regarding the use of personal data for “journalistic purposes and the purposes of academic, artistic or literary expression,” saying that the law created “over-regulation” and imposed limitations on the freedom of speech and information in favour of personal data protection.

The criteria in question include the nature of the data, the impact that public disclosure will have on a subject’s personal life and good name, the importance of said disclosure for public interest, the circumstance in which the personal data was acquired and “the goal, contents, format and repercussions of the publication.”

Parliament overturned Radev’s veto last month, but MPs from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party have now lodged the Constitutional Court challenge, asking it to rule whether the criteria are compliant with the country’s constitution and international treaties on human rights that Bulgaria is party to.

The court said that it has appointed judge Mariana Karagyozova-Finkova as the rapporteur on the case, but gave no deadline for its decision. The Constitutional Court’s practice shows that most cases take between six months and a full year before a ruling is issued, but on some rare occasions the court has closed cases in as short a period as three months.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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