Parliamentary elections with limited access to information


The electoral changes have been criticised abroad

The parliamentary elections in the media will look different from how they are in fact with one reason being that journalists will have problems with access to information, even regarding open events. Analysts add that the suggestion will be even worse for foreign journalists.

They have come to such conclusions from the infringements already being seen in elections to local and village councils, and envisage the same situation during the October elections to parliament, only on a larger scale.

According to Oleksy Hordiyenko, a specialist in electoral law, the greatest challenges for journalists will be situations involving violations of the Constitution where they are not allowed to attend sessions of electoral commissions considering issues of a radical nature, for example, cancelling a candidate’s registration.

Such cancellations are aimed at clearing the way for other candidates, but the commissions could ignore the legal requirement that they be open and hold such sessions behind closed doors.

US journalist Zenon Zawada says that it’s hard for most foreigners to imagine how antagonistic the electoral milieu can be until they try to work in a post-Soviet country. He says that for the first time in 7 years he is extremely concerned over the issue of personal safety, and even feels some fear since he sees all the signs that the coming elections will be hard and brutal.

He is convinced that members of commissions at village or town level will get away with infringements since they are simply following the example of those at the tope who tolerate this. He says that as a result, the country is losing such values as rule of law, pluralism and other features of democracy.

Lawyers say that the problem is also in the fact that such issues as concealing open documents from journalists, or not allowing them to attend council sessions are virtually impossible to resolve. The most you can do is punish those responsible later.

According to Roman Holovenko from the Institute for Mass Information, points out that one can turn to the Prosecutor’s office with a request to initiate a criminal investigator, but only after the elections are over.  And all those responsible face is a bribe.

He adds that if a journalist can prove an infringement of the law, he can also turn to the Central Election Commission asking them to suspend the work of am electoral commission.  However that will still not be grounds for declaring the elections at that precinct void. 


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