Ukraine's Parliament facilitates media entry amid martial law concerns

Journalists in the Verkhovna Rada
Journalists in the Verkhovna Rada

The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk has signed a decree allowing journalists to enter the legislature building under martial law, according to a statement on the Rada's website on May 8.

Stefanchuk and Verkhovna Rada's Chief of Staff, Viacheslav Shtuchnyi, briefed journalists on May 7 about media operations at the Rada's press center, especially during air raid alerts.

The Rada has set up suitable conditions for media personnel to cover legislative proceedings, including dedicated workstations, briefing areas, interview recording spots, and meeting broadcast zones.

Read also: Journalists regain entry to cover Ukrainian Parliamentary sessions

Stefanchuk stressed the importance of journalists covering the parliament's activities despite martial law restrictions, during the meeting.

To comply with security protocols, the press center will cap the number of journalists at 30, Stefanchuk added.

European Solidarity MP Oleksii Honcharenko clarified that journalists would be limited to the sidelines of the Rada, not the session hall.

Journalists will be confined to a small third-floor room, Honcharenko added later.

Currently, there are 25 journalists in the Rada, according to Honcharenko.

"They can't wander; they're only allowed to tune into my broadcast or quiz the MPs," the lawmaker wrote on Telegram.

Work of journalists in the Verkhovna Rada under martial law

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, journalists have not been allowed to attend meetings of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine due to high risks. In September 2022, the Rada adopted a resolution banning the broadcasting of meetings in real time.

The parliament's chief of staff, Viacheslav Shtuchnyi, reported on May 1 that journalists had been granted access to the Rada in the same mode as during the coronavirus pandemic. 20-30 media representatives would be able to stay in the building during the session. On the same day, MP Yaroslav Yurchyshyn stated that representatives of outlets that are not registered as media in Ukraine will not have access to the Verkhovna Rada sessions.

He clarified on May 2 that after the journalists get access to the Rada sessions, they will work on a rotating basis due to the lack of places in the shelters. Media representatives will also be prohibited from conducting online broadcasts from the parliament.

Some journalists will need to be accredited, added Yurchyshyn. Also, the presence of articles about the work of the parliament will be taken into account when granting access. There are plans to create a so-called “parliamentary club of journalists”.

Read also: No need to physically allow journalists into the Ukrainian parliament

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine