Cherkassy municipal council tries to impose censorship
The Department of information policy of the Cherkasy municipal council has obliged heads of departments and structural units to approve comments for the media. On August 6, the mayor of Cherkasy issued an order, which, in particular, approved the procedure for interaction of officials of local self-government bodies with the media. Thus, in annex to the order it is stated that the directors of departments and heads of independent structural units of the Cherkasy city council must pass in writing form for approval with the department of information policy any comments, interviews for mass media. “If you look at the situation at the purely “grassroots” journalistic level, such orders can make the work much more difficult. At a minimum, this is a loss of efficiency. Today, this is hard task to get comments from municipal officials. And the written form demands first of all to be drawn up, read and answered, once more in written form. It is quite time-consuming even for comments in the news and many times more, for example, for an air programs. Even more unnerving is the need for concordance. After all, such a procedure may involve disagreement with the head of the said department on certain points. And this is censorship and loss of completeness of information ”, - Irina Malyukova, editor-in-chief of the TV channel“ VIKKA”, commented on this initiave asked by IMI. The head of the information policy department Andriy Krylov speaking to IMI assured that at present, this order has been edited and is revised by the instances, and the mentioned clause was removed. “The purpose of the order was to create a unified information policy of the city council. And the emphasis was not to require from executives to file texts for approval, but to make them comment on in due time and within their competence. Nobody defined limits for anyone, ”Krylov says. “The coverage of the activity of the local council, including through comments and interviews of officials, is regulated by the legislation of Ukraine in several laws:“ On information ”,“ On access to public information ”,“ On the procedure of reporting on the activity of state authorities and local self-government bodies in Ukraine by the media ”, etc. These are the normative acts that are the primary ones, and they should be used when working for both officials and journalists. If the official refuses to provide information to the journalist, citing such or some similar order of the mayor - this refusal can be considered as inaccessibility of the journalist to the information or, possibly, as an obstacle to legitimate journalistic activity. Such obstruction will be a misdemeanor by an official, regardless of what is written at the disposal of the mayor.And it will be the official who will be legally responsible for such violation, ”as IMI media analyst Ali Safarov commented on.
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