Kherson judge Golovko issued the resolution on the claim of Alena Rotova against the town newspaper “VIK”
On 6 November a sensational event occurred in Kherson. Judge Golovko considered the claim of Alena Rotova, the vice-mayor of Kherson, against the local newspaper “VIK” and issued the following resolution:
“Being governed by Articles 152, 156 and 157 of the Civil-Procedural Code of Ukraine and with the aim of guaranteeing the independence of court, the court RESOLVED:
To prohibit the company “TV and radio company “VIK””, the editorial board of the civil-political weekly “VIK: chas, podii, ludy”, Sergiy Kirichenko and others to publish in mass media any information on the activities of A. Rotova, … on the violation by her of the demands of the Constitution and Laws of Ukraine until the court decision would be taken on the claim.
The decision must be immediately fulfilled according to the legal procedure of execution of court decisions”.
However, Alena Rotova (she is a deputy of the town council) rented almost all town cemeteries and became the monopolist in this sphere. She dictates the rules, and nobody can resist, because the deceased cannot wait until their relatives will defend the rights violated by Rotova.
(A communication to the Kharkov group for human rights protection)
According to the information given by journalist Vladimir Aleksandrov, Alena Rotona, the vice-mayor of Kherson, handed a claim against the weekly “VIK” about the compensation of the damage inflicted to her honor, dignity and business reputation by the publications in the newspaper. The demanded sum was 15 thousand hryvnas. The vice-mayor also asked the court to prohibit the weekly to publish any information about her until the court decision would be taken.
In the opinion of the journalist, the court decision means that henceforth none of the newspapers or TV channels has the right even to hint to the readers or viewers at the fact that A. Rotova, a co-founder of the company “Polis”, earns money by managing the town cemeteries, thus combining this business and the work of vice-mayor.
Editor-in-chief of the newspaper Sergey Osolodkin stated that the editorial board would appeal against the verdict of Aleksandr Golovko.
Kherson vice-mayor Alena Rotova and her daughter businesswoman Jana Rotova handed the series of claims on the protection of honor and dignity against the newspapers “VIK” and “Grivna”. All in all, the Rotovs demand to pay them 130 thousand hryvnas of compensation. One of the claims, on 50 thousand hryvnas, had been already satisfied by judge Golovko.
The editorial board of “VIK” handed the complaint against the decision of judge Golovko to the appeal court.
Besides, the fact that it was prohibited “to other persons” to write about the violations of the Constitution and Ukrainian laws exasperated many local journalists. The Kherson town association of journalists “Pivden” proposed the legal aid to all representatives of the “fourth power”, who were going to fight for their right for the freedom of speech in court. As a result, 23 correspondents of local editions appealed against the court decision to the higher instance.
On 4 December the Appeal Court of the Kherson oblast expressed its attitude to the actions of judge A. Golovko: “The conclusion of the court… about the prohibition of the publications, connected with the case, by the defendants and other persons contradicts the demands of Articles 149 and 152 of the CPC of Ukraine”.
It should be noted that the Kherson journalists have never been so solidary in protecting their rights in court. That became possible thanks to the project “Legal aid to journalists of the Kherson oblast” realized by the Kherson town association of journalists “Pivden”.
(Ukrainian media server, “Pivden”, 11 December 2003)