On election day, the journalist has right to:
- Attend (no more than two representatives from the same media) without invitation letters, accreditations, permits, etc. at the preparatory meeting of the election commission (begins 45 minutes before the voting), at the polling station during the voting from 8 a. m. till 8 p.m., at the meeting of the election commission during counting the votes and drawing up of protocols (Part 3 of Article 34 of the Law “On Elections of People’s Deputies of Ukraine”);
- Take photo and to record video and audio of events taking place inside and outside of the polling station (Part 1 of Article 25 of the Law “On Information”);
- Receive information from the members of election commissions, officials of the national police, officials and executive authorities regarding the preparation and holding of parliamentary elections (Part 4, item 13 of the Law “On Election of People’s Deputies of Ukraine”);
- Fix violations of electoral law at the polling stations, to cover such violations in the media.
Journalist has no right to:
- Obstruct the work of the election commission, as it is determined by the legislation. Taking photo, video recording is not obstruction if it does not physically prevent members of the election commission from performing their functions;
- Campaign for or against the electoral subjects in any form, including by means of the use of party symbols on clothing, equipment, etc .;
- Monitor, whether they comply with the legislation at the polling station, to try to prevent the violation of the election law at the polling station by himself. In the case of revealing the fact of violation, the journalist has the right to draw attention to such a violation of a member of an election commission or an official observer who has the appropriate authority to respond to the violation.
- Attend the polling station, if there are more than two representatives from one mass media at once. This does not preclude the right to replace the journalists of one media during the day at the polling station, so that each time they would be not more than two of them present at place.
Infringement of journalists’ rights:
- The decision to expel a journalist from a sitting of an election commission may be taken only at a sitting of the election commission not less than by two thirds of the votes of the general composition of the commission. The expulsion could be made only on the ground of an unlawful meddling into the sitting of the election commission. Expulsion of the journalist from the election commission’s sitting does not mean that another journalist from the same media cannot be present at the polling station.
- Denial of access to the journalist at the polling station, including the preparatory sitting of the election commission the day of voting, the requirement to provide some additional documents besides the documents certifying the status of journalists (press card), prohibition to the journalist to take photos and video recording of events inside and outside the polling station, unlawful removal of the journalist from the election precinct, in particular without the decision of an electoral commission and without the protocol – these actions are obstruction to the lawful professional activity of the journalist which is a criminal offensestipulated by the Article 171 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and which entails responsibility with eventual deprivation of liberty for a term up to five years.
Photo credits: Time and date