28.04.2005 | Georgiy Kobzar, Kharkiv

Is a session of town council a military secret?


During the election race human rights in Ukraine were violated permanently and massively. Local administrations and organs of local self-government, taking the political decisions, tried to do that behind the back public. So, the access to information, which is anyway restricted, became almost impossible.

In what follows I want to give an example from the practice of our local authorities.

On 24 November 2004 Galina Minayeva, the mayor of Chuguev (the Kharkiv region), convoked a special session and appointed it, contrary to part 9 of Article 46 of the Law “On local self-government in Ukraine”, on the same day. One of the items of the session was adoption of the appeal against “anti-Constitutional actions of opposition”. Probably, the mayor and some “people’s representatives”, who wanted to express denunciation to their own people, did not want this information to became known to the dwellers of the town, where not everybody supported don Yanukovich. So, the representatives of mass media, who came to the session, where driven away.

The mayor proposed for voting the question on presence at the plenary sitting of the Chuguev town council of journalists Sergiy Rogozin and Roman Gnoyevoy (the latter, by the way, worked at that time as a correspondent of the newspaper “Novyny Chugueva”, the printed organ of the council!). 13 deputies voted for their going away from the room. Although the town council includes 32 deputies, and the decision, according to the law, should be approved by the majority of the composition in compliance with the list (so, in our case, it was necessary to get 17 votes “for”), Ms. Minayeva showed the creative approach and declared that “in that case 13 votes would be enough, and the decision is taken”.

This decision is particularly illegal, since, in accordance with Articles 4 and 46 of the above-mentioned law, work of organs of local self-government must be elucidated on the basis of principles of openness.

Correspondent of the newspaper “Tochka zoru” Yuri Chumak was also driven away from the session room even without voting. Deputies of the Chuguev town council prohibited him to make video record of the work of the session, used bad law-language towards him.

The mayor and her companions-in-arms ignored the arguments of journalists that they had the right to be present at the OPEN sitting of the council in order to deliver to public the information about the “epoch-making” decisions of the deputies. However, some part of the deputies, as a token of protest against the arbitrariness, refused to take part in this demonstration of absurd and left the room…

After all, Minayeva and her stooges did not give a chance to journalists to realize their professional duty and voted for their appeal. Let us have the text of this document on their consciousness, but the impediment to professional activities of journalists should be considered by court in according to Article 171 if the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

And there the second part of this story begins. On the same day the journalists, whose rights were abused, turned to General Prosecutor of Ukraine (now the former one) Mr. Vasylyev with the corresponding complaint. In December they received the letter that the complaint had been passed to the Kharkiv region prosecutor’s office and… And it was all. Now it is the middle of February 2005, but no information has been got since that time. It is an interesting fact: the prosecutor’s office, one of whose functions is the control over the observance of laws, violates itself the law “On appeals of citizens”.

Probably, new (old) General Prosecutor Sviatoslav Piskun will read would letter, would be ashamed for his subordinates, and the case would move from the dead point? Or maybe the claim should be handed to court against the passivity of prosecutor’s office?

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