Bukovyna journalists believe local court is at war with them
The editors-in-chief of printed media outlets of Chernivtsi oblast, in particular, newspapers «Chas», «Versiyi» and «Bukovyna» believe that the local court system has launched an undeclared war against local journalists. They discussed this issue on a round table about relations between the courts and local mass media. The case in point is a series of lawsuits against these newspapers from Rustam Ahalarov, who was a suspect in a murder of Oleksander Savka committed 2 years ago. The court changed his charge from murder to hooliganism. And now Ahalarov filed lawsuits against these newspapers with demands to refute the information that he was a murderer they had published earlier.
The lawsuits against the newspapers were considered in the court in the absence of the defendants.
Ahalarov’s family found a publisher in Kyiv, who launched a newspaper called ‘Pravdoshukach’ (Seeker of Truth), which is dedicated wholly to vindicate Ahalarov’s innocence.
All this made the journalist community think this might be another method to strangle the freedom of press.
Ahalarov expects the newspapers would pay him for moral damage and reimburse his lawyer’s fees and court payments.
There are also several similar cases – the Security Service of Ukraine filed a lawsuit against the web portal ‘BukNews’ for a published press release, and the vice prosecutor filed a lawsuit against a local TV journalist for a program about an exposed corruption scheme.
These cases were, too, considered by the court in the absence of the defendants.
The local journalist community plans to appeal to the national authorities to address the situation.