On November 1, acting city mayor of Lutsk Pustovit issued a directive to adopt a new Accreditation Procedure for journalists and other mass media representatives in Lutsk city council teking into account IMI recommendations. This was reported by IMI representative in Volynska oblast, Maya Holub.
When the Journalist accreditation procedure was updated, IMI recommendations were taken into account, namely:
- the requirements to the applications of journalists and mass media for accreditation that do not comply with the legislation, were dropped;
- the issue of termination of accreditation in the part of timelines and advance notices on such resolution, as well as options for contesting it, were brought into compliance with the Law on Information.
The previous variant of the Procedure included extra (additional compared to those defined in the law) information or documents required for the application to receive accreditation: for the journalists – an application needs to include information about being either creative or technical employee (clause 5 of the Procedure); for mass media – the application needs to include information on periodicity of publication, number of copies, region of publication, and, as well, about the employees in the application being either creative or technical workers (clause 4 of the Procedure). Also, in clause 10 of the Procedure has a large list of reasons for termination of accreditation (like publication of invalid information or obsolete official information), which can be used for abusing the powers and withdrawing accreditation, and also extends the list of reasons that can be used for accreditation termination according to the law. The procedure for contesting the accreditation termination resolution was not stipulated at all, and the term of notification of a journalist or media outlet about termination of their accreditation was not indicated.
IMI media lawyer Maksym Ratushnyi pointed out that the most important thing here is securing the rights of journalists who want to cover the activities of the local self-government body, in particular, securing access of journalists without accreditation to all open events, as stipulated in the legislation in effect, and absence of abuse in the part of termination of accreditation for those who will already have received it.
Accreditation, he added, needs to be used only as a tool promoting cooperation with mass media.
In the comment for local IMI representative, head of information work department of Lutsk city council Zoya Baliuk pointed out that the journalists with accreditation will still be able to freely access sessions of the city council and its commissions.
“Absence of accreditation cannot be a reason of limitation or banning of the journalists’ access for the events in the city council. On the contrary, we are open for cooperation and will gladly wait for mass media representatives both to cover the events and to communicate in a friendly manner”, Zoya Baliuk said.
IMI representative met Zoya Baliuk and secretary of the Lutsk city council Pustovit on October 31, giving them recommendations on the accreditation procedure. Such recommendations of IMI on the problematic provisions of the Procedure can be found at this link.