Court processes for protecting the freedom of speech and the press


A case on the impediment to journalists’ activities was started in Shostka

On 2 June the Shostka district prosecutor’s office (the Sumy oblast) started a criminal case after article 171 Part 1 of the CC of Ukraine (impediment to the legal journalists’ professional activities) against the head of the department of the registration of the acts of civil status (DRACS) at Shostka directorate of justice.

Larisa Yakubenko, the general manager of the company “TELECOM-SERVIS”, informed the IMI that the oblast informational-analytical weekly “Perekrestok” published the data about the number of the births, marriages, divorces and deaths registered during a week.

“We were obtaining these data from the DRACS since 1999, but newly appointed to this post Ms. Degtiariova refused to render such information to the editorial board without any explanations”, told Larisa Yakubenko.

It is noteworthy that the case was started only after the deputy’s request of Mykola Tomenko, the head of the Supreme Rada committee, to the General Prosecutor’s office. Shostka district prosecutor’s office refused, as usual, to start the criminal case after the claim of the journalists. The prosecutor’s officers said that there were no grounds for the institution of the case. Yet, the operating laws do not relate such statistical data to the information with the restricted access.

According to the information of the IMI, the judges of the local court, to which the case would be directed, have already formed their opinion: “the case is hopeless”.

Maria Sambur, 09 June 2003, the Institute of mass information,

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