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Kherson Oblast Council deputy sues two local media outlets

08.12.2023, 17:43

Kherson Oblast Council from the "Volodymyr Saldo Bloc" party, Serhiy Sorokunsky, filed two defamation lawsuits in the Kherson City Court against two local media outlets, MOST and Grivna.

The court has already emailed summonses to the media outlets. However, neither the court nor the deputy's lawyer sent the lawsuit to the editors.

Kherson City Court accepted Sorokunsky's statement of claim for consideration on December 4.

The court decisions make it clear that on October 20, 2023, the plaintiff appealed to the Malinovsky Court of Odesa with a defamation lawsuit against the media outlet "MOST", the private enterprise "Grivna Editorial Team", and a third party, the "Sapphire Agro" Farm, but this case was passed on to the Kherson City Court of the Kherson oblast for jurisdiction reasons.

It is not clear from the court files which statements by the specified media outlets the deputy considers to be defamatory, but a search in the Unified Register of Court Decisions showed that the Malinovsky district of Odesa has tried a similar lawsuit against the media outlets in the summer, but the court dismissed the plaintiff as he sued the wrong defendants.

The Serhiy Sorokunsky's lawyer asked the court to establish as legal fact that the information posted on the anonymous Telegram channel "Kherson Traitors Database" and on the websites of the media outlets "MOST" and "Grivna" is false and defamatory, and to refute it.

The lawsuit is about a September 25, 2022 post in an anonymous Telegram channel alleging that Serhiy Sorokunsky cooperated with the occupation authorities.

In their article about the Oblast Council deputies who are or may be suspected of treason and collaborationism, the online media outlet "MOST"  cited, among other sources, this post and provided a screenshot of it, but the author gave no assessment of the work of Sorokunsky and other deputies.

"We clearly said that the Volodymyr Saldo Bloc deputy, Serhiy Sorokunsky, has appeared on various traitor lists. Both in those 'leaking' data from the SBU and in anonymous Telegram channels. We also stated in the article that the no suspicion notice has been issued to him and that he calmly arrived in Ukraine from Europe, where he had been hiding for several months after leaving Kherson, which was still occupied at the time," said Serhiy Nikitenko, editor of the "MOST" website.

He also added that he was ready for a trial, but the editorial team has not even received the case files. The court sent a summons, but so far they have not been able to see the lawsuit itself.

In a comment to the Institute of Mass Information, the director of the private enterprise "Grivna Editorial Team", Serhiy Bolotov, confirmed that they received the summons.

"Yes, we received a summons, but we haven't seen any case files. It's too early to say anything before we review them," he said.

He did not see the August 31, 2023, ruling mentioning his media outlet.

The first hearing in the case is scheduled for January 16.

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