Journalist Maryna Koktysh still can’t get accredited at Chamber of Representatives
The Supreme Court turned down the complaint of the chief editor of the Narodnaya Volia newspaper Iosif Siaredzich and its journalist Maryna Koktysh against the verdict of the court of the first instance that refused to bring civil proceedings concerning the refusal of the Chamber of Representatives to issue accreditation to the latter. ‘As long as the question of journalist accreditation is beyond the competence of the court and the legislation of the Republic of Belarus does not provide consideration of complaints against accreditation denials by court, the judge reasonably refused to bring proceedings’, reads the letter of 30 November, signed by the deputy head of the Supreme Court A.Fedartsou.
As the lawyer Hary Pahaniaila, representative of the legal interests of the journalist, explained in his interview to the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Belarusian law On Mass Media really does not say that accreditation denial can be appealed at court. However, this is a case when applicable is the ‘general order’, provided by the Constitution that guarantees the right to defend one’s rights at court (which was, by the way, confirmed by the Constitutinal Court, to which Mr. Pahaniaila applied with an appropriate inquiry in 2008).
Besides the Constitution, the right to apply to court must be guaranteed by presidential decree #498 On additional measures on work with applications of physical and legal bodies. However, in its letter the Supreme Court called the reference to this document absurd as the action of the decree allegedly is not spread on the applications that are ‘considered in the framework of constitutional, criminal, civil and economic legal proceedings.
‘At first the Supreme Court says that the case is not liable for court consideration and in the next paragraph it contradicts to itself. It is unclear where the registration denial can be appealed at all then?,’ Mr. Pahaniaila points.
All national means of defense being depleted, the lawyer is going to address the UN Human Rights Committee. ‘Pitifully enough, as the practice shows, the MFA and the court consider the decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee as voluntary, thus violating the international undertakings of Belarus,’ emphasized Hary Pahaniaila.
Maryna Koktysh does not lose hope for receiving accreditation at the Chamber of Representatives. ‘May be it’s because on the New Year eve everyone wants to hope for miracles? I will maybe ask Santa Claus to make them stop considering me as a terrorist and issue the accreditation to me,’ jokes the journalist.
The accreditation denial to Maryna Koktysh has a 2-year history already.
In autumn 2007 the journalist, who used to get accredited at the lower chamber of the Parliament without any problems, received the first refusal, without explanation of the reasons. When the journalists asked about the motives, they were explained that it was done on order of the presidential Security service.
The address of the editorial board of the Security service gave no results. Then Narodnaya Volia and Maryna Koktysh decided to defend their professional rights at court and filed complaints against the actions of the Chamber of Representatives and the Security Service.
In June 2008 the Maskouski district court ruled that the journalist and the editorial board of the newspaper allegedly had no right to apply to the court and refused to consider the complaints. This decision was also upheld by the College Baord of Minsk city court, where representatives of Narodnaya Volia tried to appeal against it.
In autumn 2008 the journalist applied for accreditation once again and, having received a refusal, again went to the law. On 13 February 2009 the Maskouski district court of Minsk again refused to bring a civil case on this fact. Judge Alena Rudnitskaya ruled that the complaint was ‘not liable for court consideration’ as ‘Koktysh was denied accreditation because of absence of admission’.
The journalists appealed against the court verdict at higher court instances and finally reached the Supreme Court, but nothing has changed.