So much for the Public Information Act, Next step Strasbourg
On 13 December Ukraine’s High Administrative Court rejected the cassation appeal lodged by the Media Law Institute with respect to Serhiy Leshchenko. The Ukrainska Pravda journalist had been refused information about the price at which Viktor Yanukovych bought a State-owned piece of land.
The Media Law Institute has consistently argued that the information sought is public information since it concerns both a public official and the disposal of public property. This is directly specified in the Public Information Act as information not being subject to access restrictions.
Not one Ukrainian court has upheld the journalist’s – and the public’s – right to this information. Leshchenko and the Media Law Institute will therefore be turning to the European Court of Human Rights.
As reported, Serhiy Leshchenko address a formal information request to the Vyshhorod District Administration a year and a half ago He wanted to know, in accordance with the Public Information Act., how much President Yanukovych paid in 2010 for the 1.76 hectares in the middle of Mezhyhirya.
It is apparently this land which is directly owned by Yanukovych. The remaining 135 hectares of Mezhyhirya is leased by the firm “Tantalit” and the charity “Ukrainian Renaissance”.
The Vyshhorod District Administration confirmed that they had sold the land to Yanukovych and asserted that they had all the relevant documents, but refused to provide the purchase agreement or even information as to the price paid. They claimed that such information “concerns the right to private property and other rights and legally protected interests of another person”, as well as the ban on unlawful intrusion into somebody’s personal and family life.
Reported on the Media Law Institute’s website