Legal aid available for journalists on Election Day
The Association of Media Lawyers and the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine will be providing assistance to journalists in the event that their professional rights are infringed, including through refusal to provide information, be present at meetings of electoral commissions, etc.
On 17 January 2010 from 8.00 to 20.00 journalists can turn for help by phoning 0-44-234-23-57 or contacting:
The Association of Media Lawyers also reminds journalists that their rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and legislation, including Articles 9 and 10 of the Law on Information; Article 26 of the Law on the Printed Media (Press) and Article 56 of the law on Television and Radio Broadcasting.
Deliberately obstructing journalists in carrying out their professional work is a criminal liable offence (Article 171 of the Criminal Code).
Electoral legislation guarantees unobstructed access by journalists and media to all public events linked with the elections. Members of electoral commission must, within their capacity, provide all representatives of the media with information regarding the preparation and running of the elections (Article 13 of the Law on the Presidential Elections).
The media have the right without permission or invitation to be present at meetings of electoral commissions of all levels, in the premises where the voting is taking place, during vote counting and determining the outcome ((Article 28 of the Law on the Presidential Elections). The only restriction is that there can be no more than 2 people from any one media outlet. A list is given of the documentation confirming this right.
Legislation does not envisage any accreditation for journalists at district or precinct commissions, including at special polling stations, in hospitals, penal institutions, etc. An electoral commission can refuse a journalist the right to be present only if the person unlawfully obstructs a meeting. Any such decision cannot be taken by one individual, but must be supported by two thirds of the commission.
During all meetings, etc, as listed above, journalists may take photographs, tape or video recordings.
Every journalist has the right to appeal decisions, actions or inaction of a particular electoral commission.
From information at