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Ivano-Frankivska oblast council plans to allow only TV journalists and camera operators to be in their assembly hall

07.09.2017, 16:42
Members of Ivano-Frankivska oblast council decided to amend their session procedure - the new rules allow only TV journalists and camera operators to be in the assembly hall proper. All other journalists are sent to a special balcony. Such amendments of the procedure are proposals to be approved by the oblast council. This was a motion discussed on September 6 at the session of the standing commission of Ivano-Frankivska oblast council for the issues of deputy (council members) activities, ethics and standing order, Kurs reports. As the head of the commission Mykhailo Torbyak said, such decision is necessary to bring order to the sessions. “It is recommended to systemize and to improve on details like who has a right to visit sessions, and what documents they must show for this... Experience of previous sessions indicates that often some people who come disrupt sessions”, he said. This was the very reason of amendment of the standing order. IMI media lawyer Roman Holovenko commented on such proposals: “the legislation on access to information provides for a right for anyone to be present in the assembly hall, yet it does not detail in what specific locations of the assembly hall this right needs to be implemented. The purpose of the right itself is to enable the community to learn about how sessions are conducted, not to grant physical access to council members. For this reason, I do not see limitation of transparency here”. IMI media lawyer Maksym Ratushnyi, however, considers such division a violation of the principles of equality and justice. “Although in fact allocation in the special balcony does not deprive the individuals to be present at the session yet this kind of “segregation” is against the principles if equality and justice, defined by the legislation. Also, it is worth mentioning that the requirement of an exceptional right to stay in the hall of representatives of TV organizations cannot be reasoned based on any legislative norms, just like the provision based on which only two representatives from each organization are allowed. As a consequence of this, the requirement to show the copy of a license for broadcasting is also not reasonable - it is an additional burden that is not specified in the legislation in effect”, he said.
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