Another turn-around in the defamation case against “Blitz-Inform” and Maxim Birovash


A year after the dramatic reversal of a massive compensation award against the company “Blitz-Inform” the editorial board of the newspaper “Business” and its journalist Maxim  Birovash, a new court ruling on the same case has partially allowed the claim for moral compensation by the same claimant, Yury Sidorenko, Head of the Consulting Council of the consortium SSAPS [Single State Automated Passport System]. 

On 23 May 2008 the Desnyansky District Court ordered the publishing company to pay Sidorenko an incredible 22 million UAH, while the author of the material and the Chief Editor were ordered to pay 5 thousand UAH each.

On 28 September the Kyiv Court of Appeal reversed this ruling, rejecting the claim for moral compensation, however upholding the part of the Desnyansky Court’s ruling regarding retraction and prohibition of the use of the claimant’s photograph.

The Supreme Court, however, revoked both the original ruling and that of the court of appeal, and sent the case back for another examination.

The claimant demanded 46 million UAH, however this time the Desnyansky District Court has reduced the figure, and ordered “Blitz-Inform” to pay 6 million UAH in moral compensation, as well as 600 thousand UAH to cover court costs. And Maxim Birovash and Serhiy Kobyshev to each pay 5 thousand in moral compensation and 510 UAH for court expenses.

Yury Sidorenko has sought through the court to have three statements from Birovash’s report on problems of the passport system retracted, and has demanded huge compensation. He claims that his right to privacy was violated by the use of his name, the circulation of his picture and publishing of circumstances of his relatives’ life.

Oleksandr Bumahin who is representing the respondents plans to appeal against the ruling and states that “In Maxim’s material enough documents were used which confirm that the journalist acting conscientiously and checked the information which is accurate.

It should be noted that Judge Olena Kalchenko from the Desnyansky District Court was on the National Journalists’ Union “Enemies of Ukrainian Journalism – 2008” for her ruling awarding the 22 million UAH.

From information at www.telekritika.u

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