Odessa journalists complained about denial to get access to regional administration premises
The journalists from Odessa Region complained about restrictions on getting access to the premises of the Odesa Regional Council and the Odesa Regional State Administration. They appealed to the parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Lyudmyla Denisova, as Izbirkom reported.
“We, the journalists of Odesa region, who have signed below, appeal to you regarding the restriction for mass media in getting access to the premises of the Odesa Regional Council and the Odesa Regional State Administration (4 Shevchenko Ave., Odesa).
Thus, on December 15, 2020, the head of the Odessa regional council Hryhoriy Didenko and the head of the Odessa regional administration Serhiy Hrynevetsky signed the document “Rules of access to the administrative building #1”, in compliance to which the journalists can enter the building only accompanied employees of the press service of the Odessa regional council or the regional state administration, ”the appeal read.
The journalists noted that in January 2021, they were found out to be obliged to ask the press officers to accompany them inside, when they needed to attend public events these authorities held (for example, the regional board, etc.), otherwise they were denied access to.
The authors of the appeal reminded that Article 25 of the Law of Ukraine “On Information” stipulated that a journalist was entitled to freely visit the premises of subjects of power, open events held by them, and to be personally received within a reasonable time by their officials and officials, except defined by law.
Journalists believe that these new rules make the journalists depend on the availability of a representative of the press service.
In our opinion, the provisions of these “Rules of access to the administrative building #1” contradict the guarantees of journalistic activity provided for in Article 25 of the Law “On Information”, as they introduce additional conditions for a journalist to enter the premises of Odesa Regional Council and Odesa Regional State Administration. by law. These “Rules” make the journalist depending on availability of a representative of the press service, his / her presence at the workplace or simply his / her willing. Instead, the relevant law speaks not only about the right of a journalist to enter the premises of subjects of power, but also about the right to enter freely. Thus, these "Rules" narrow the right guaranteed by law, "the appeal reads.
In this regard, journalists ask the Ombudsperson to send to the Odessa Regional Council and the Odessa Regional State Administration an act of response of the Commissioner for the adoption of appropriate measures by these bodies.
As IMI reported, on January 30, more than 20 journalists from Zaporizhzhya addressed a public statement to the governmental authority asking them to intervene and to stop systematic denial of access for the journalists at the Zaporizhia City Council session and meetings of standing deputy commissions.
The journalists said that since the spring of 2020 they have been denied to attend the sessions of the City Council and deputy commissions and so, were unable to fully cover the activities of the city authorities of Zaporizhzhya.
On February 2, a representative of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech responded to journalists' appeals that on February 17, the Committee would consider appeals from Zaporizhzhya journalists on systematic obstruction by representatives of the Zaporizhzhya City Council with the participation of Interior Ministry representatives.