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Rivne officials deny journalists access to information, use war as an excuse

09.08.2022, 13:32

For three months, Chetverta Vlada editors tried to get a response to their requests for access to public information from local councils, utility companies, and the court. However, no information has been provided, with russia's military aggression being used as a justification. There are no military operations ongoing in Rivne region and institutions are working as usual.

Chetverta Vlada reports this.

Journalists tried to get information on the salaries of city mayors and their deputies. However, Rivne, Varash, Dubno City Councils provided none.

Also, the journalists were unable to obtain any information about the time frames of the examination of some specific cases by the Rivne City Court and about sewer networks in Rivneoblvodokanal, as well as a list of people who received corporate housing from the Rivne City Council.

In all cases, the excuse was more or less the same – they are not going to provide information until the martial law is lifted.

Moreover, the Rivne City Council has classified the information about persons who had received corporate housing as "limited access" information, the disclosure of which during martial law and the full-scale russian invasion could cause significant damage to the national security interests and the territorial integrity of the state. "Because it can negatively affect the performance by the above-mentioned bodies of their constitutional functions," Rivne Council replied.

The editors of Chetverta Vlada believe that in this way, city officials want to illegaly hide the distribution of residences to prosecutors.

Media lawyer of the Human Rights Platform CSO Lyudmila Opryshko believes that the fact that the war really is what prevents the officials from fulfilling their obligations, i.e. responding to journalists' requests, is yet to be proven. She believes that with the beginning of russia's large-scale armed aggression on the territory of Ukraine, various authorities and structures found themselves in different conditions.

"It is clear that those of them who are on the front line, the nearby areas, or in temporarily occupied territories cannot fulfill the requirements of the law 'On access to public information,'" Lyudmila Opryshko said to Chetverta Vlada.

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