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Khmelnytsky City Council makes the session agenda public after inquiries from journalists

15.09.2023, 16:34

The Khmelnytsky City Council announced a session planned for September 15, but only released the details and agenda of the session after receiving clarifying questions from the media. The news with the agenda was made public after the City Council's working hours.

This was reported by the IMI representative in the Khmelnytsky oblast.

According to the IMI representative, the City Council press office shared details about the meeting in a group chat with journalists on September 14 after 5 p.m. At that time, there was a link to the news about the session on the City Council website, but when you clicked on it, it said "Access Denied".

With the news on the website being unacessible, the journalists in the chat started asking the press office employee, Olha Salipa, whether this session would be scheduled or special. The journalists and the IMI representative also tried to clarify whether they could access the agenda of this meeting, since it was never made public.

Screenshots of the result of clicking the news on the City Council website

Olha Salipa replied that she did not know, either.

"I don't have the exact information, just like you. I am waiting for the agenda. All announcements and documents related to the session are issued by the department for facilitating the work of deputies. I have already spoken to them last time, asking them to update me more quickly, but I see that the talk has not yielded any result yet," she said.

However, the information about the convening of an "extraordinary session" was posted on the City Council website later, as was the session agenda, which contained 79 draft decisions. Yet it was only released after the media started asking questions and not during working hours – at 18:42.

Also, on September 14, the City Council website posted two pieces of news about deputy commissions' meetings. As the IMI representative notes, these news were not released quickly enough. For example, the announcement about the meeting of the permanent committee on urban planning, land relations and environmental protection was posted on September 14 at 8:55, and the meeting itself was scheduled for 9:30 on the same day. Similarly, a joint meeting of all standing commissions was announced at 9:26 a.m. on September 14, the meeting itself being set to begin at 10:00 a.m. of the same day.

Screenshots by the IMI representative

The department for facilitating the work of deputies told the IMI representative that there had been "some technical issues". No clarification as to what exactly these issues were was provided, because the head of the department "is not an expert in electronic and computer technology."

"Unfortunately, I can't add anything else," said the department head, Viktor Babyn.

IMI representative Alyona Bereza notes that this is not the first instance of such an attitude to publicity on the part of the Khmelnytsky City Council. According to her, media workers were invited to no sessional meetings and meetings of the permanent deputy commissions for over a year after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion and no information about those meetings was posted. The specifics of the City Council's work during this period was analyzed by regional media outlets.

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