IMI prepares changes to the law
The legal department of the Institute of Mass Information with the support of the Council of Europe is preparing a number of changes relating to the articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine regarding obstruction of journalists - 171 and 345.1.. In particular, there is a plan to remove criminal liability for illegal refusal to journalists' request from Article 171. IMI lawyer Roman Holovenko told about plans to "Dostup do pravdy".
"It causes bureaucratic red tape in National police office. Besides, there is no public danger and offense, respectively, in such cases,"- Roman Holovenko said.
Besides, it is planned to transfer "effect on journalists in any form" (Art. 171 of the Criminal Code) from the Criminal Code to the Administrative Offences. It is planned to make changes in the definition of journalism (art. 345-1 of the Criminal Code) - instead there will be a list to characterize journalistic activities, and, also, to remove formulation on the capture of the journalist as a hostage to obstruct his activities.
February 4, 2016 Ukrainian Parliament approved amendments to the Criminal Code, which strengthened the responsibility for obstructing the work of journalists. The Praliament made amendments to the article 171 of the Criminal Code by adding to the article that the illegal denial of access to information for journalists can be punished by a fine of free minimum incomes, or imprisonment for up to three years.
Media lawyers have warned that criminalizing access is excessive. There is no high degree of danger to society in such violations, and this is the main basis for the qualification of certain criminality. Besides, this provision of law makes difficulties, when applying it in a practice.