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Verkhovna Rada fails to provide the document restricting journalists' access to the parliament – "Skhemy"

09.11.2023, 13:11

The Radio Liberty project "Skhemy" asked the Verkhovna Rada to provide copies of the documents or rulings which were the basis for restricting journalists' access to plenary sessions, backrooms, and committees starting 2022.

In response, the Verkhovna Rada Apparatus first postponed the deadline for responding to the request for 20 days due to the "need to search for information" in a large amount, and later reported that a document which would contain an exhaustive list of all restrictions "has not been created", "is not in in their possession", and can only be obtained "by generalization" and "analytical data processing", reports Radio Liberty.

"Skhemy" also contacted the Verkhovna Rada Chair, Ruslan Stefanchuk, for a comment. He asked for time to "clarify it."

"I will clarify, because all this was passed at the time when the martial law was being introduced. And since that time, we have been very actively cooperating with our special services, who constantly message us about the risks, seeing as the parliament is a decision-making center," Stefanchuk said.

At the same time, he announced: "As soon as this danger subsides and I receive the first letters saying that there is no danger, we will come back and restore everything as it has always circulated in the parliament."

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, journalists have been unable to access the Verkhovna Rada.

The Parliament's website only mentions the Covid-related restrictions on mass media, and only journalists from one state TV channel, Rada, work inside the building. Their work within the walls of the parliament is regulated by the resolution "On some issues of reporting on the work of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the ninth convocation under martial law". Namely: the TV channel records the plenary sessions, but does not livestream them, only releasing the recording with a several hours delay.

In September 2023, the Verkhovna Rada press center where deputies occasionally attend briefings has opened outside the main Parliament building.

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