Regions Party MP withdraws defamation suit against CVU head
Yuliy Ioffe Oleksy Svyetikov
Yuliy Ioffe, newly elected MP from the Party of the Regions, has fortunately withdrawn his extraordinary defamation suit against Oleksy Svyetikov, Editor of “Third Sector” and Head of the Luhansk Regional Branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.
Around a month after the parliamentary elections, Ioffe suddenly lodged his suit over an article by Svyetikov published back on 12 February 2012. The article had clearly stated that the author was simply expressing his opinion regarding likely candidates in single-mandate electoral districts at the parliamentary elections. He suggested Ioffe’s likely candidacy for the seat which the latter did in fact win and positioned him as part of the group around Dmytro Firtash and the head of the President’s Administration Serhiy Lyovochkin.
In belatedly taking offence, Ioffe denied any connection with Firtash and Lyovochkin and indeed suggested that no such group existed. He had demanded removal of a long (and somewhat outdated) analytical article containing only one small section which he found objectionable. More importantly he also wanted 1 million UAH in moral compensation.
Svyetikov had been represented through the first two or three hearings by media lawyers from the Regional Press Development Institute, and later legal assistance was planned under the Strategic Litigations Fund.
Thankfully some sanity has won out, but it is disturbing that such law suits are brought in the first place. Worth noting that it was the Party of the Regions that reintroduced a change to state duty opening the floodgates for crippling defamation suits and Ioffe is by no means the first politician to claim that he has been defamed.
The suit if it had been allowed would have had the gravest ramifications for journalists and analysts voicing opinions about political influences on the new government.