The court rejects to provide journalist with lists that contain signatures of MPs

November 5, 2013

The courtrejected journalist in providing her with copies of MPs’ registration lists thatwere made during offsite meeting as of 4, April, 2013 because of theirsignatures. Journalist’s interests are represented by Media Law Institute.

The claimwas filled to the court by Oksana Kovalenko as a result of non-providing herwith these lists by Secretariat of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The case was heard todayby District Administrative Court of Kyiv. As an answer at her informationrequests, filled in VRU Secretariat, the claimant received only lists with lastnames of members of the meeting and information about results of discussing. Asdefendant stated, copies of registration lists themselves are confidentialinformation because they contain personal signatures of members of Parliamentand that is why they can not be given.

In thecourt proceedings representative of VRU Secretariat supported mentionedposition and stated that MP’s signatures are personal data and defendant cannot give them without MP’s agreement. At the same time, claimant’s requests todisclose such information create artificial barrier for violation by theSecretariat of its obligations concerning protection of personal data.

The court uphelddefendant’s position and rejected in satisfaction of the claim in full.

From claimant’sand her representatives point of view, decision of the court is illegal becauseMP’s registration lists that were made at the meeting, were created duringfulfillment by MPs their constitutional duties and that is why they belong topublic information by their character. Except that, MPs signatures werewillingly disclosed by them together with filled declarations on property duringtheir registration as candidates to members of Parliament at the web-site of CentralElections Commission. Claimant provided court with copies of declarations with signaturesof those MPs that were present at the scandal meeting. Thus, such informationcan not be considered as confidential.

Claimantand her representatives intend to lodge a complaint on the court’sdecision to the court of appeal.

This case is supported by the Foundation on Protection of theRight to Information Access, set up by Media Law Institute with the support of International Renaissance Foundation.