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Parliament to restore limited access for journalists to plenary sessions

by Kateryna Hodunova May 1, 2024 3:42 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's parliament building. (Getty Images)
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Journalists will be again given limited access to Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, to cover plenary sessions and the work of lawmakers, the Ukrinform news agency reported on May 1, citing a senior lawmaker.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022, journalists have been prohibited from attending plenary sessions due to security reasons.

Ukraine's parliament also adopted a regulation on Sep. 6, 2022, forbidding live streaming of the sessions during martial law. Since then, the video recordings of the sessions have been uploaded with a delay on the parliament's YouTube channel.

Journalists will work at the parliament on conditions similar to the COVID-19 period. Up to 30 media representatives will be allowed to stay at once in the building, according to the parliament's Secretary General Viacheslav Shtuchnyi.

Shtuchnyi said some journalists have already applied for the accreditation. They will be provided with instructions after the Orthodox Easter on May 5, Shtuchnyi added.

Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine's parliament, stressed that Ukraine's parliament is the only legislative body in the state that continues to operate during martial law and could be targeted as one of the decision-making centers.

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"We have risks confirmed monthly by relevant letters from the security services," Stefanchuk said.

The speaker added that a pool of journalists who "set themselves high reputational requirements for themselves" must be created.

Taras Pastushenko, the head of the parliamentary press service, also reminded that over the past two years, the "temporary media center" has been operating, where journalists have had a chance to communicate with lawmakers.

According to the State Security Administration, over 4,000 journalists had parliament's accreditation before the beginning of the all-out war.

Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the head of the Ukrainian parliament's Committee on Freedom of Speech, said earlier that there was a significant demand in society to allow journalists return to the parliament.

Yurchyshyn noted that his committee does not see any convincing argument for why it cannot be done.

Freedom of speech committee examining reported surveillance of Ukrainian investigative outlet
Ukraine’s parliamentary committee on freedom of speech is investigating the reported surveillance of investigative outlet Bihus.Info, committee head, lawmaker Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, told Radio Free Europe on Jan. 17.
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