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 Constitutional Court Allowed to Imprison Journalists Who Write About Yanukovych’s Mezhyhiria

By its decision of 20 January, 2012, the Constitutional Court explained the provisions of the Basic Law on the right to privacy and family life in favor of officials, blocking citizens access to a significant amount of public interest information.

Now, journalists and others who want to learn the information about politicians and officials, the disclosure of which is not expressly provided by law, could face punishment under Article 182 of the Criminal Code "violation of privacy". It is punishable by a fine or up to five years of incarceration, reports the Center of Political and Legal Reforms.

As a consequence of such decision the public may be denied access to information, for example, regarding convictions, disciplinary actions, professional education and family ties of officials of all levels. All of the above data will be within the definition of "personal and family life".

In addition, thanks to this decision, you can open a criminal case against the journalists who were investigating the presidential residence in Mezhyhiria or were making inquiries regarding the benefits of certain deputies since the media published "confidential" - according to the interpretation of the Constitutional Court - information about official.

In their turn, the authorities obtained new grounds to deny citizens access to information about politicians and officials. The only information that remains open will be regarding the performance of the functions of the state and the provision of which is provided by law.

By this decision, the Constitutional Court has ignored the position of the European Court of Human Rights that the right to privacy of politicians and other public officials is much narrower limits than for the ordinary citizen. There can be no secret information when the public's right to know objectively prevails over the right of officials to keep certain facts about themselves secret, experts say.

Thus, the Constitutional Court has created the conditions for corruption and deprived the society of effective mechanisms for monitoring power, and the journalists who expose the facts of abuse are now under threat of criminal prosecution.


 
 
 
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