IMI lawyers provided more than 300 hotline consultations
In 2020, the lawyers from the Institute of Mass Information provided 335 legal consultations to journalists and mass media through the IMI legal emergency hotline.
This,year, an absolute leader was the coronavirus and lockdown introduced to stop the pandemic in Ukraine: most consultations concerned several legal issues the journalists had been facing due to lockdown restrictions or denials of access due to lockdown (in particular, unjustified ones). Thus, it happened very frequently that the journalists have been denied access to the premises of public authorities, local governments, courtrooms, etc. - at the same time, officials referred to lockdown restrictions, even if no restrictions of the kind have been imposed.
While giving legal advice, IMI lawyers explained what were the legal methods of terminating the offense and what was the procedure for appealing against such actions and bringing the perpetrators to justice, provided practical and clear advice on how to act. Thus, they advised the journalists to have on hand a pre-printed on paper provisions of Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine “On Information”, which defined the rights of journalists, in particular the right to perform the functions of a journalist at places where the lockdown restrictions have been announced. This advice has already proved its effectiveness.
Also in the autumn of this year, a large number of questions from journalists related to local elections. After all, this was the first elections that took place in compliance with the Electoral Code adopted in 2019, and so there have been many differences from the previous ones. So IMI lawyers provided a variety of advice on election law: how to place the cost of campaigning, political advertising on the Internet, whether it is possible to write news about a candidate if he did something wrong, and so on. During the consultations, the problematic aspects of the Electoral Code that need to be improved at the legislative level were very clearly identified.
In addition, the lawyers advised on a variety of aspects: from labor law to corporate law. For example, regarding the purchase by the editorial office of the reformed print media of the neighboring region, which is being closed due to bankruptcy, regarding the renewal of the wire broadcasting license in connection with the termination of wire broadcasting technical services on January 1, etc.
The issues also concerned copyright, access to public information, inaction of investigators probing the crimes against journalists, the peculiarities of advertising certain types of goods, the grounds for concluding agreements to cover the activities of public authorities, and so on.
At the same time, IMI hotline had some inappropriate calls: from automatic bots offering site promotion, to a request from a resident of occupied Horlivka to enter the unoccupied territory during quarantine.
"However, even non-target calls are useful: they create an understanding of the popularity of the IMI hotline, because it means that search engines like Google put the IMI hotline in the first lines of search results for requests for legal support," said lawyer Ali Safarov.
It will be recalled that the IMI legal hotline will continue to operate in 2021. Experienced media lawyers Roman Golovenko and Ali Safarov provide consultations by phone: 050-44-77-063. Questions can also be sent to IMI firstname.lastname@example.org .