Journalist seeks access to meetings of Mahiliou Regional Council
For over a year, Uladzimir Laptsevich, a journalist of the BelaPAN news agency, has been unable to attend the open meetings of the Mahiliou Regional Council of Deputies, facing bans referring to the Council’s inner regulations, which allegedly require an invitation.
However, the procedure of obtaining an invitation is still a secret, as neither Mr. Isachanka, Chairman of the Regional Council, nor a representative of the Council Mr. Nalhichau have agreed to disclose the information.
Having exhausted all the possible ways to attend the meetings of the Regional Council of Deputies, Uladzimir Laptsevich filed a lawsuit in court. However, Judge Valiantsina Lapatsina of the Leninski District Court sided with the deputies.
On 31 January, the freelance journalist appealed against the decision of the District Court to the judicial board for civil cases of the Mahiliou Regional Court.
Laptsevich asks the board to reverse the decision of 21 January and to find illegal the actions of the representatives of the Regional Council, as well as to oblige them not to prevent him from attending the open meetings of the Council.
“I disagree with the decision of Judge Lapatsina, because I think the Mahiliou Regional Council of Deputies violated at least three legal acts. These are the Law “On Mass Media”, the Law “On Local Government and Self-Government” and the Law “On Information, Informatization and Information Protection”. All these laws guarantee the right of accredited journalists to attend the public meetings of the Regional Council of Deputies. In court, no one could clearly explain where this arbitrariness of the deputies came from and why applications should be filed in order to attend the meetings,” said Uladzimir Laptsevich.
The journalist stresses that previously he did not have any problems. He could easily get to the meetings of the Regional Council. He also heard no claims as to the information that he obtained at the meetings.