Media Law Institute law suit against Verkhovna Rada rejected



On 19 May 2011 the hearing took place into the law suit lodged by the Media Law Institute against the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada over the lack of response to a formal information request back in September 2010.  The information request asked about how parliament is linked organizationally and financially with the private enterprise which publishes the newspaper of which the Verkhovna Rada is founder - Holos Ukrainy [Voice of Ukraine].  The questions related to the functions carried out by this enterprise called “The Editorial Board of Holos Ukrainy”, what basis they have been given powers, whether there was a procedure for state procurement and whether there is an editorial charter.

The respondent’s representative mainly argued that there were no legal relations between the Media Law Institute and the Office of the Verkhovna Rada since the letter had been addressed directly to the Verkhovna Rada. They asserted that there were no legal acts placing the responsibility for answering information requests to parliament on the Office of the Verkhovna Rada.

The Media Law Institute however asserted that the lack of subordinate legislation should not obstruct implementation of the law and the Law on Information guarantees the right to submit an information request to the legislature and receive a response. Moreover in an analogous case, the High Administrative Court had found that it was specifically the Office of the Verkhovna Rada that bore responsibility in failure to act on information requests.

However the District Administrative Court in Kyiv issued a ruling in favour of the Office of the Verkhovna Rada. The full text of the ruling giving the court’s reasons will only be made public in 5 days.

The Media Law Institute plans to lodge an appeal. 

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