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Journalist in Lutsk not allowed to attend a court hearing

04.07.2022, 10:47

Yuliya Antonyuk, a journalist of the "Volynska Sluzhba Novyn" news agency, was not allowed to attend the meeting of the Lutsk City District Court of Volyn Region, allegedly due to quarantine restrictions.

The journalist informed the IMI representative in Volyn region about this.

On June 30, the court was supposed to consider the case about the cancellation of an order about dismissal and collection of unpaid salary for the period of forced absenteeism of the former Pidhaitsivka Village Council official Heorhii Stefanesa. He was the plaintiff against the aforementioned village council. We will remind you that this is the same Heorhii Stefanesa who attacked journalist Ludmila Yavorska when she came to Pidhaitsivka Village Council in 2021.

However, Yulia Antonyuk was not allowed to attend the court session with refrerence to objections from the session's parties and to quarantine restrictions.

"Before the start of the court session, I wrote a request for my admission to the session as a mass media representative, in an arbitrary form and providing all my personal details. Since, according to the judicial institution's employee, they do not have a sample of such a document, this very request was handed over to a court staff member. After being invited to the courtroom, the judge warned that a journalist would be present at the hearing. After that, she asked to present the documents and to state the reason for my presence at the meeting. Namely, covering of the trial for the above-mentioned online media outlet," the journalist said.

After that, the judge asked those in the room whether they were against the journalist's presence, to which the plaintiff's representative answered negative. He emphasized that he objects to the presence of this journalist, citing quarantine restrictions that are in effect until August 31, 2022. And he asked the court to adhere to these restrictions, so that only the participants in the case were present at the meeting. Literally: "The way it was before."

The defendant, a representative of the Pidhaitsivka Village Council, also objected to the journalist's presence at the meeting for similar reasons.

As a result, the court decided to deny the media representative the presence in the courtroom, as both sides objected to it and quarantine restrictions are in effect, and asked her to leave the premises of the hall.

IMI lawyer Roman Holovenko noted that the court can make a decision to restrict the access of persons who are not participants in the legal process to the court session during the quarantine announced by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases," if participation in the court session poses a threat to a person's life or health.

At the same time, he says, according to Art. 25 of the Law on Information, for journalists, there is an exception and a way to work. Namely, after showing a document certifying their professional affiliation, a mass media employee has the right to collect information on sites of natural disasters, catastrophies, accidents, mass disturbances, hostilities, and in the territories where emergency state or emergency situation has been announced, or administrative and sanitary measures (quarantine) have been taken, except for cases provided by law (Part 4 of Article 25 in the 2020 edition).

Therefore, Roman Holovenko advised the journalist to contact the State Bureau of Investigation with regards to the current situation.

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