For the first time in the Crimea a journalist won the trial against town authorities.


Ragim Gumbatov, the editor of the newspaper "Alubika", won the trial against the mayor of Alupka, a small Crimean town. The journalist’s claim concerned his constitutional right for information. The court obliged Alupka mayor Valeriy Andik to accredit the journalist to the town council and to render the journalist all information he needed for his work. In spite of everything, the mayor does not hurry to fulfil the court verdict: Gumbatov is still not admitted to the town council, – the Institute of mass information informs. The conflict between the town authorities and the newspaper "Alubika" lasts already for more than two years. Ragim Gumbatov reckons that the conflict was provoked by the critical materials about the town officials published by the newspaper. It was "Alubika" that told its readers the story how a bus presented to the town was privatized by an individual. The newspaper published the staff list of the town executive committee, which was widened twice for unknown reasons. Yet, the most sensational were the articles about the squander of the precious land of the South Crimea under the condition of the permanent budget deficit. After this, the editor told, many problems fell on the newspaper.

Last year the conflict became apparent, when Valeriy Andik, then a deputy head of the town council, drove Gumbatov away from the sitting of the land commission, attacked the journalist, snatched the dictaphone from his hands and threw it to the wastepaper basket saying: "You elucidate our work lousy in your foul newspaper!" The town power regards Gumbatov’s criticism as ungrounded.

In order to protect themselves from the "unjust" criticism the town authorities hastily introduced the accreditation. Ragim Gumbatov was the only journalist, who was refused in the accreditation under the pretext that he had allegedly handed the wrong documents. Gumbatov turned to court.

In spite of the taken court decision, Gumbatov says that his victory was somewhat illusive, since he did not obtain the accreditation all the same. And the town authorities still ignore his informational request.

27 December 2002


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