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Media, CSOs call on the Verkhovna Rada to give journalists access to the meetings and the sidelines

06.02.2024, 11:30
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Human rights NGOs, media and journalists call on the Verkhovna Rada to allow journalists to attend meetings and be present on the sidelines of the parliament, according to a joint statement by the public.

The authors of the statement call on the parliament to return to ensuring the principles of open work, namely:

  • to ensure that journalists can be present at the Verkhovna Rada meeitngs and talk to MPs on the sidelines of the parliament;
  • to post the Verkhovna Rada meeting agendas in advance;
  • to promote and support the involvement of civil society organizations in the meetings of the Verkhovna Rada committees.

"Admitting journalists to the Verkhovna Rada building and releasing of the list of draft bills that are planned for consideration in advance will provide Ukrainians with socially important information. It is equally important that civil society representatives are be able to participate in meetings of parliamentary committees, express their opinion on the registered draft bills and the initiatives to be developed," the statement reads.

The authors believe that, as long as safety precautions are observed, such openness on the part of the parliament will increase public trust in its work and promote active cooperation between civil society organizations and MPs.

The statement notes that in 2022 the introduction of restrictions could be explained by national security concerns due to Russia's large-scale invasion and the need to ensure the security of the Verkhovna Rada. However, in 2024, almost two years after the start of the large-scale invasion and ten years after the beginning of Russia's war on Ukraine, the parliament working behind closed doors begs many questions.

"The lack of access to the Verkhovna Rada for journalists harms democracy. What is the point of talking about the danger of the media's presence in the parliament hall when society is learning about the progress and results of draft bill reviews from the MPs' social media livestreams anyway? Furthermore, the parliament is too large a structure in terms of the people involved for its meetings to take place inconspicuously. Therefore, instead of continuing to prevent journalists from entering the parliament building, it is time to discuss safety measures, for example, bomb shelter arrangements," the authors of the statement believe.

The statement notes that giving the public back the opportunity to communicate with MPs in an easy and transparent way will be a sign of democracy persevering despite the war.

"The media should be given the opportunity to inform the society about what issues are being reviewed by the country's single legislative body, what arguments are put forth during discussions. The openness of the parliament means giving the public information about its procedures and creating conditions for meaningful communication between Ukrainian deputies and the Ukrainian society," the statement reads.

The statement was signed by:

ZMINA Center for Human Rights
Institute of Mass Information
Media Movement
NGO "Donbas SOS"
Public holding "HRUPA VPLYVU"
Media Initiative for Human Rights
CO "Stabilization Support Services"
Collegium of Maritime Lawyers of Ukraine
All-Ukrainian Association "Automaidan"
NGO "Kyiv Educational Center 'Space of Tolerance'"
NGO "Social Action Center"
Daria Hirna, journalist, "Face of Independence" channel author
"Novyny Donbasu"
Center for Civil Liberties
NGO "Women in Media"
Souspilnist Foundation
Ukrainian Independent Center for Political Studies
Center for Political and Legal Reforms
Pylyp Orlyk Institute of Democracy
Civil network OPORA
International Society for Human Rights – Ukrainian Section
Educational House for Human Rights – Chernihiv
NGO "Crimean Process"
NGO "Institute for Peace and Understanding"
NGO "Truth Hounds"
NGO "Helsinki Initiative – XXI"
NGO "Civil Enlightenment Center 'Almenda'"
Yevhen Spirin, journalist, TV host
NGO "Expert group 'Sova'"
NGO "Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Center"
NGO "Hromadske Radio"
Crimean Human Rights Group
NGO "Human Rights Platform"
NGO "Detector Media"
NGO "Association of Relatives of the Kremlin's Political Prisoners"
NGO "Democratic Initiatives Incubator"
NGO "Human rights association 'PRAVE DILO'"
National Union of Journalists of Ukraine
Commission on Journalistic Ethics (CJE)
Pylyp Orlyk Institute of Democracy
Dmytro Tuzov, Radio NV
Yana Brenzei, "Vikna-Novyny"
Roman Kulchynsky, "Texty"
Natalia Sokolenko, Ukrainske Radio
Vadym Karpyak, ICTV
Bohdana Neborak, The Ukrainians
Lyudmylka Tyahnyriadno, Ukrainske Radio
Bohdan Lohvynenko, The Ukrainer
Yevhenia Motorevska, head of war crimes investigations at The Kyiv Independent
Myroslava Barchuk, Suspilne
Anton Skyba, The Globe and Mail producer
Anastasia Bakulina, "Svidomi"
Azad Safarov, Sky News producer, Children's Voices co-founder
Anna Babinets,
Nastya Stanko,

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