In Mukachevo, head of district electoral committee did not allow “Express” reporter to gather information at polling station
On October 23 in the town of Mukachevo, Zakarpatska oblast, the head of a district electoral commitee No.69 Volodymyr Humeniuk ignored the right of the journalist of the national newspaper “Express”, Elina Savytska, to obtain information. A committee member from the Party of Regions, Serhiy Nosaliuk, with no reason blamed her of lack of professionalism, humiliated and sent her out of the room.
According to Elina, she came to the electoral committee to arrange the format of cooperation on the day of elections, but the head of committee Humeniuk said that he would not provide any information and would not talk to the journalist, giving as the reason his sentiment that she “can misrepresent my words”. Nosaliuk joined the argument and started to yell that no one was obliged to provide information to the journalist, that she was not a professional and that she had to leave the room not to disturb the committee’s work. A committee member from the Socialist party Oksana Parkhomenko tried to defend the journalist, saying that during the previous, Presidential, elections there was no misrepresentation of their work in the media, but Homeniuk said that he would give no comment except an official one for all journalists and on the scheduled time. The committee also refused to provide information over the phone (she called on the elections day to ask whether all polling stations were open).
Such actions of the committee member qualify as violation of the journalists’ rights, in particular, “groundless refusal to provide information.”. Later, though, there was a news story on the TV channel ‘M-Studio’, in which Humeniuk did say that all polling stations were working, and provided official data on voters’ turnout, which shows how selectively they provide information to different media.