ZHAR.INFO sues the Chernivtsi Trolleybus Management over access to public information
The Chernivtsi District Administrative Court has agreed to hear the lawsuit filed by of the Khmelnytsky media outlet ZHAR.INFO and opened proceedings in the case.
The editors turned to the utility company "Chernivtsi Trolleybus Management" with a request to provide scanned copies of documents on the introduction of an automated payment accounting system in the city. In response, the company listed some publicly available links, but did not attach the requested documents.
This is stated in the ruling published in the Unified State Register of Court Rulings.
On October 20, 2023, the ZHAR.INFO team sent a request for public information to the utility company "Chernivtsi Trolleybus Management", asking for a scanned copy of the document(s) containing information on the expenses and the software, scanned copies of documents on the procurement of the devices (validators, terminals, etc.) that were purchased to introduce the automated accounting system for travel payments.
In response, the editors received a letter stating that the information they requested was publicly available on the Prozorro website and the company's website, including links to those resources. The company did not provide copies of the documents.
"According to Part 2, Article 22 of the Law of Ukraine 'On Access to Public Information', the information manager's reply that the requester can obtain the information from publicly available sources, or a reply that is irrelevant to the request is considered an unlawful refusal to provide information", explains Oksana Maksymeniuk, a lawyer and head of the legal department of the Institute for Regional Press Development, who helped the editors prepare the lawsuit.
On December 18, 2023, the Chernivtsi District Administrative Court accepted the editors' claim for consideration and opened proceedings in the case, which will be tried by judge V. O. Kushnir alone under the rules of simplified claim consideration, without notification to the parties to the case (in written proceedings).
As of late January 2024, no judgement has been made in this case. The court said to the editors that they have a heavy workload and were considering cases in order of priority.
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