On November 29, the board of judges of the Court of Appeals of Rivnenska oblast adopted the resolution which leaves in power the resolution of Rivne City Court as of September 12, which bound the journalist Inna Biletska and TV and Radio company “Lux” to refute information about the well-known local activists David Nikolaev and his wife Liubov Ukrayinchuk, who were participating in many high-profile events, “Chetverta Vlada” reports.
“In the appeal, in particular, it was explained that I did not know what will be the volume of the published quote of my comment. My comment was much broader than the quote. Part of the comment was taken out of context. Also, I do not understand how it is possible to refute the facts confirmed by both the claimant and his wife”, Inna Biletska commented.
Attorney of the journalist Tetiana Yuzviak thinks that the actual information cannot be refuted because it is in fact true. “As to value judgments, we provided in our appeal a number of resolutions of the European Court of human rights which show that in case of public interest to the issue, value judgments can, and are to be made. One cannot punish a person for repeating something that was already published”, she said.
David Nilkolaev and his attorney insisted that the facts mentioned in the published story were not the truth.
“My attorney’s request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that there are no criminal proceedings raised against me about any kind of “marauding”, no one stated that and even never heard about it. The comment stated not “someone said that…”, it made a statement which made it look like a fact established by the journalist, as if she knows for sure these things indeed took place”, David Nikolaev said.
“Negative information about an individual is considered invalid unless the person who disseminated it proves otherwise”, Nikolaev’s attorney, Yana Zrazhevska, added.
After listening to the arguments of both parties, the court rejected the appeal and ruled to leave in force the decision of the first instance court. Inna Biletska plans to continue contesting this decision, and is ready to go as far as the European court, if needed.
The event in question took place in hotel Kozatskyi in February of 2016. Then, a group of people calling themselves “Revolutionary right” barricaded themselves in the hotel and demanded to change the Prime Minister and to “reload” the government. Nikolaev and his wife, Ukrayinchuk, were among them. The journalist commented on this case as one of the examples of Nikolaev being part of “some semi-criminal activities”, and also referred to rumours about him being a marauder in the ATO zone, and being involved in illegal amber mining.