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Journalists are not allowed to interview in the hallway of the court in Petrozavodsk

In Karelia, journalists were prohibited to record comments in the hallway of the Petrozavodsk City Court. According to head of the Karelian Union of Journalists Yevgeny Belyanchikov, regional union considered the incident a violation of the law on the media and has already applied for explanations to the court president.

The union asked for a legal assessment of actions of the administrator, who strongly recommended journalists not to interview in the hallway of the court on October 10. Bailiffs interpreted recommendation as a ban and strictly monitored to ensure that members of the media complied with it. Judicial authorities prevented journalists in the coverage of the resonance process in the case of Medvedyevy spouses whose children were taken by Finnish social services. October 10, journalists wanted to get comments from participants after closed proceedings.

'I believe that this decision not only limits journalists in their legal rights to work and violates the law "On mass media", but it is also contrary to common sense, because the court hallway is a public place, and the right to make a comment is the right and prerogative of citizen, not court, except cases related to secret information. The fact that the court has decided to expand its powers means that the judicial system, which should embody the law, justice and logic, is increasingly moving away from these principles, turning into some kind of secret power ministry,' Yevgeny Belyanchikov commented on the incident.

He added that he didn't expect response on the merits from the court president, and thought that official explanations would be formal in nature, with reference to the rules of conduct in court, prescribed by court itself.

Assistant Chairman of the Petrozavodsk City Court Elena Shuma declined to comment on the incident, citing lack of a written response from the court president.

Media lawyer Elena Paltseva believes that the situation is strange from a legal point of view, because there are no right to prohibit interviewing administrator of court neither on the basis of federal laws nor on the basis of the internal rules of court.

"The rules (of visitors' staying in court) require to coordinate photo and video shooting in hallway of the court, but not the interviews with trial participants (here law gives the issue at the mercy of citizens who, of course, may refuse to give explanations)," Elena Paltseva concluded.

In June 2016, Karelian journalists tried to challenge the rules of conduct in court for journalists in vain. Photographer of "Capital on Onego" Sergei Yudin did not agree with the court decision, which forbade him to take photography in the hallway.

Natalia Turchinskaya, «7x7»


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