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Ostroh mayor sues a journalist for criticising the city authorities for capitalising on the war

11.03.2024, 18:24
Tetyana Klymchuk (right) in court with her lawyer Victoria Klimchuk. Photo by Rayon.Ostroh
Tetyana Klymchuk (right) in court with her lawyer Victoria Klimchuk. Photo by Rayon.Ostroh

The Ostroh (Rivne oblast) mayor Yuriy Yahodka is suing Tetyana Klymchuk, a journalist for Suspilne's Rivne, after her Facebook post criticising the City Council for using military aid for PR.

The mayor filed the defamation lawsuit on December 5, 2023, reports the regional representative of the Institute of Mass Information.

The trial has not yet started, as all the scheduled meetings were postponed for various reasons. The latest one was postponed on February 21 because the Ostroh mayor requested it, reported Rayon.Ostroh.

Tetyana Klymchuk arrived at the court together with her lawyer Victoria Klimchuk and several local people who came to support her.

The next meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, March 12. The official wants a retraction of information, a compensation for moral damage and trial expenses.

"The only thing I can say is that I am determined to receive a fair trial and win it," Tetyana Klymchuk told the IMI.

Earlier, Tetyana Klymchuk reported that Yahodka wanted to collect UAH 5,000 from her in moral damages.

"UAH 5,000 is his estimation of 'the severity of his physical and mental suffering, the deterioration of his capabilities and depriving him of opportunities to actualize,' and he also wants UAH 9,800 in trial expenses and lawyer's fees from me," she wrote on Facebook in January.

In the lawsuit, Yuriy Yahodka claims that his honor, dignity and business reputation were harmed by a post shared by the journalist on Facebook.

In the post which the mayor wants retracted, the journalist wrote about the Ostroh City Council announcing they were supplying a car to the army, criticizing the officials for using their aid to the UAF for PR and claiming that the car could have been given to the army much earlier.

The journalist notes: the Ostroh City Council shared the news about the car supply a way that suggested to the readers that the car was purchased and donated to the military by the local government or the head of the Ostroh District State Administration, Oleksandr Havruk, who is posing with the car in the background in the news. According to Tetyana Klymchuk, the car was donated not by the Ostroh City Council, but by the Polish city Berun, and the officials were supposed to hand it over to the military back in December 2022.

"Instead, it was registered as the City Council's property, and they have been justifying it as 're-registration' since May. Obviously, they wanted to keep the car for themselves until the 'local lunatics' started talking about it. [...] This bus could have saved many lives and helped the army, but it only went into use now. The hands of the mayor and his company are bloody," Tetyana Klymchuk wrote in the post.

The quote "The hands of the mayor and his company are bloody" was the most insulting to the Ostroh mayor, because it is the only sentence from the post which is cited in the lawsuit. According to Yuriy Yahodka, the post calls into question his dignity, moral convictions, professional and business qualities for a large audience.

In March 2023, the IMI studied the wartime political jeansa in the Rivne media.

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