Human Rights in Ukraine


Statistics of claims against mass media in the Lugansk oblast


Some statistics. In 2002 there were 269 claims on the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation in the courts of the Lugansk oblast, 203 of them were handed in 2002. During that year 188 cases were considered, among them 31 were rejected, 56 were closed (i.e. the demands were not satisfied); the decisions were issued on 92 claims, 69 of them were satisfied. The greatest number of such cases was considered in the Leninskiy and Zhovtnevy courts of Lugansk and in the Stakhanov town court.

The total sum of moral and material compensations demanded in the claims was 2,089,077 hryvnas, and 42,514 hryvnas must be paid according to the court decisions.

49 claims on the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation were brought against mass media, 31 of them were handed in 2002. 35 cases were considered during the year, 12 were rejected, 6 were closed; the decisions were issued on 17 claims, 14 were satisfied. Leninskiy district court of Lugansk considered 25 cases, Brianka town court – 7 cases, Krasnodon town court – 7 cases, Zhovtnevy district court of Lugansk – 6 cases, Stakhanov town court – 2 cases, Lutuginskiy district court – 1 case and Popasninaskiy district court – 1 case.

The total demanded recompensing sum was 1, 627,704 UAH the court obliged the defendants to pay 4039 UAH. Thus, the total sum that must be paid according to the decisions of Leninskiy district court of Lugansk equals to 1717 hryvnas out of the total demanded sum of 530500 hryvnas; the corresponding numbers for other courts are: Brianka town court --- 471 out of 7000, Krasnodon town court – 630 out of 80000, Lutuginskiy district court – 1017 out of 10000, Stakhanov town court – 204 out of 204.

So, the oblast mass media permanently stay in the field of social tension generated by the conflict of interests, more often the interests of bureaucrats and citizens, who try to defend their legal rights and interests through publications on the newspapers. Yet, sometimes the citizens together with the newspapers, become the victims of the illegal court repressions.

The above statement may be confirmed by the scandalous case Medianik vs. Lugansk newspaper “Rakurs plus”, when Medianik, a businessman and a deputy of the town council, demanded to recompense the moral damage (100 thousand hryvnas) inflicted to him by the publication in the newspaper of the voters’ critical opinions about his work (!). And the court ruined the newspaper even before the consideration of the case – it issued the decision about the arrest of all future issues of the newspaper!

Nikolay Kozyrev, the Chairman of the board of the Public committee for protecting the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, Lugansk

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