Court of Appeal reinstates issue of Luhansk paper “Our Choice”


The Donetsk Administrative Court of Appeal has overturned the ruling of the Leninsky District Court in Luhansk which had ordered issue of Nash Vybir – Our Choice suspended until after the elections. Oleksy Svyetikov, Head of the Luhansk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine says that the Court of Appeal’s ruling states that the article of the Law on the Parliamentary Elections pertains to a campaigning infringement, while the sociological data which the newspaper published was not campaigning.

As reported on 3 October Judge Antonenko from the Leninsky Court in Luhansk  banned issue of the newspaper until the end of the elections on the grounds of a repeat infringement of Article 67 of the Law on the Parliamentary Elections.  The ruling states that in issue no. 18 of the newspaper from 16 September the results of a public opinion survey were published regarding the ratings of different political parties in No. 113 electoral district.  

The court acknowledged that the newspaper had, as required, indicated the area in which the study was carried out; the number of respondents; the methodology; the exact wording of the questions.  It had not, according to the court, given the exact name of the organization.  The newspaper had written “the Sociolab agency” and the court considered that it should have said “the civic organization Sociolab” and that it should have said who ordered the survey.  The respondent asserted that nobody had “ordered” the survey, that Sociolab had carried it out at their own initiative.

This was deemed by the court to be a repeat offence – this enabling the publication to be banned (translator) – since there had, apparently, been previous rulings by this same court on 9 September and 12 September.  The court did not take into consideration the statement from the respondent that it had not been informed of the previous rulings, and that had it been, it would have rectified the reports as required.

At the time, the Committee of Voters stated that if the case was not overturned at appeal level, there would be grounds for appealing it at the European Court of Human Rights. 

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