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Police barred journalists out of session of regional council

08.12.2020, 14:06

On December 7, the police guards denied access for several journalists whose name were not on the list to the session of the Zakarpattia Regional Council in Uzhhorod.  This was reported to the IMI representative in the Zakarpatya region by journalists Stanislav Danko, Anya Semenyuk and Vitaliy Glagola. The journalists alerted the police department about the incident.

As the journalists said, the police guards had lists with them and allowed only those people whose names were there. This year, a turnstile has been installed at the entrance to the regional council building, which physically limits the possibility to enter the premises.

According to Stanislav Danko, a journalist with the PravdaYe (Truth does exist) project, he showed his press card to the guards and said that this was a sufficient ground for admission to a public event, but they did not react to. 

Blogger Vitaliy Glagola added that after journalists informed on social media that they were not let in, he and several people were invited to enter the hall, but not everyone who had press cards on them. 

As a result, the journalists who gathered in front of the turnstile told the officials that either everyone would get in or no one. As Anya Semenyuk, a journalist with the Zagolovok online publication, added, in the end, all media people gathered in front of the turnstile were let through when MP Robert Horvat came to the entrance.

After the police arrived at the scene, three media professionals, who took turns calling the police, explained said there were elements of obstruction to journalistic activity.

As IMI reported, the day before, the press service of the Zakarpattya Regional Council warned about restricting the admission of the number of accredited journalists to the first meeting of the newly elected members of the regional council "in order to comply with lockdown requirements."

Earlier, IMI lawyer Ali Safarov noted that Article 25 of the Law on Information, which lists the rights of journalists, had been amended to explicitly state the right of journalists to be in quarantined places. That is, the lawyer added, restrictions on journalists' access to the quarantined session were illegal and did not meet the requirements of current legislation.

On December 4, journalists were admitted to the first session of the newly elected Kropyvnytskyi City Council despite formal restrictions on access to the premises.

On December 1, the first session of the Zaporizhzhya City Council took in absence of the press and public representatives due to lockdown restrictions.

On December 2, journalists for  Fourth Estate were not let in to attend the first meeting of the newly elected Rivne Regional Council. The refusal was motivated by lockdown restrictions.

The first session of the Zhytomyr City Council of the eighth convocation took place on December 3 without the admission of persons from outside to the session hall. Journalists had been asked to get accredited by calling the public relations department or filling out a form.

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