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Legislation contains some gaps on press accreditation in JFO zone - IMI lawyer

04.12.2019, 17:11

The Ukrainian legislation has some gaps in accreditation of media representatives in the area of ​​the Joint Forces Operation. The lawyer with IMI Ali Safarov said it, commenting on the letter from the Ministry of Defense on accreditation of journalists in the JFO

“The Joint Force HQs quite rightly said that freedom of speech was not absolute and in some cases might be restricted. Such restrictions are mentioned not only in the Article 34 (3) of the Constitution of Ukraine, but also in the Article 10 (2) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. However, these norms say that the restriction of freedom of speech should be based on the law, that is, the highest normative act issued by the legislative power of the state, ” Ali Safarov said.

At the same time, Safarov added, the Law of Ukraine “On specificieties of state policy on securing state sovereignty of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions” referenced by the Joint Forces HQ in its response had no restrictions as to activity of journalists in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

And the Instruction on the procedure for admission of journalists, media personnel to the objects of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, referred to by the command of the JFO, regulates the issue of admission of journalists to the objects of the Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in particular to the combat positions, warehouses, headquarters, etc. "However, this instruction does not cover the movement of journalists outside military facilities," Ali Safarov said.

“Thus, it can be said that there is no norm in the legislation of Ukraine that would specifically regulate the activity of journalists in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and would restrict their activity, as compared to the general order. Any requirements for the journalists to come in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions exclusively after being accredited by the JFO HQ have no legal basis, ” the lawyer said.

As reported by IMI, on November 7, the NGO "Institute of Mass Information" called on the Ministry of Defense, the Security Service and the law enforcement agencies to comply with the legislation of Ukraine on information and not exceed the statutory powers of granting accreditation to media representatives in the area of JFO.

“The accreditation of journalists in the Joint Forces Operation area should be accorded based on clear and public rules, in accordance with clearly defined criteria. This is inadmissible to "manually handle" the issues of accreditation of the journalists without determining the criteria for accordance of accreditation for the journalists”, ” the IMI letter said.

As IMI reported, on November 6, photojournalist with LB.ua Maks Levin  said that the Joint Forces Operations headquarters had denied him accreditation to the JFO area. The reason, as follows from the response of the headquarters, was the violation of the rules of work in the JFO area, but they failed to precise which violation it was question.

The JFO headquarters justified denial to accredit Levin referring to the fact his press card expired and also that he failed to send applications for stay in the area of ​​JFO.

Max Levin told IMI that he came in the settlement Zolote-4 in as journalist and he presented his press card. He also specified that he did not work in the area of military positions.

Photo credit: Ukrinform.ua

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