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Journalists' access to the Verkhovna Rada must be restored, says Oksana Romaniuk

12.01.2024, 16:40
Photo: Suspilne
Photo: Suspilne

During the January 12 discussion "Information policy and challenges for the media in the context of European integration and martial law", organized by the National Interests Advocacy Network "ANTS" at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, the CEO of the Institute of Mass Information (IMI) Oksana Romaniuk called for the restoration of journalists' access to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

According to Romaniuk, in 2024, the Institute of Mass Information will begin active work in partnership with top human rights organizations to restore journalists' access to the Verkhovna Rada.

"If a few deputies make video livestreams from the Verkhovna Rada hall and several dozens of deputies post about the meetings on social media in real time, it makes absolutely no sense to bar journalists from entering because 'a missile may hit us.' If that is the case, just ban the deputies from making these video livestreams," said the CEO of the IMI.

According to Romaniuk, there is already a solution that will allow journalists to resume their work in the parliament, and this solution is accreditation from the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

"Such accreditation gives a journalist the right to access state facilities during martial law. In order to receive it, journalists undergo an in-depth check at the SBU. It is re-issued every six months. If this accreditation gives you the right to visit trenches with soldiers, why not the VR?" believes the director of the IMI.

We remind you that the Ukrainian citizens are have an interest in an open parliament as well. According to the poll commissioned by the CHESNO Movement, about 65% of Ukrainians believe that journalists should be present at Verkhovna Rada meetings even during martial law.

"We believe that journalists should have access to the sidelines so that they can, among other things, get comments from deputies, ask about legislation, initiatives – the way things work in a democratic country," Oksana Romaniuk noted.

The Institute of Mass Information (IMI) is a public media organization that has been operating since 1995. The IMI defends the rights of journalists, analyzes the media field and covers media-related events, fights propaganda and disinformation and has been providing media outlets with safety gear for trips to the combat zone since the start of the Russo–Ukrainian war in 2014.

The IMI carries out Ukraine's only freedom of speech monitoring and keeps a list of high quality and sustainable online media outlets, documents Russia's crimes against the media committed in the course of the war on Ukraine. The IMI has representatives in 20 oblasts of Ukraine and a network of "Mediabaza" hubs to provide journalists with continuous support. The IMI's partners include Reporters Without Borders and Freedom House; the organization is a member of the International Organization for the Protection of Freedom of Expression (IFEX).

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