Three Oblast Councils and a City Council Closed to Citizens — CHESNO movement

Фото: Three Oblast Councils and a City Council Closed to Citizens — CHESNO movement

Odesa, Ternopil, and Poltava oblast councils and Poltava city council hide their decisions from citizens.

This was found by CHESNO movement’s monitoring. The local authorities justify the ban on attending council sessions or commission meetings by COVID-related quarantine restrictions.

CHESNO movement found that some meetings of local councils are held behind closed doors and without announcements to the public and journalists. In some places, information, like draft decisions or results of roll-call voting, or findings of permanent council commissions, are no longer published at all, and meetings are not broadcast online. As a result, residents learn about the adoption or non-adoption of decisions only after the fact and cannot influence the process. Access to participation in plenary sessions or commission meetings is also limited.

Among city councils in oblast centers, Chernivtsi city council has proven to be the most open. The worst scores belong to Ivano-Frankivsk and Zaporizhzhia councils. This is despite the fact that Zaporizhzhia is extremely close to the front line, while Ivano-Frankivsk city council works in conditions of relative security. Meanwhile, Kyiv city council is only somewhat open.

As for oblast councils, the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast ended up at the top, contrary to its municipal counterpart, sharing the first place with Lviv oblast council. The council of Chernihiv oblast is the most closed one today. 

Notably, Ternopil oblast council does not even respond to information requests. For instance, CHESNO movement got the explanation that, at the instruction of the council head,  the council will provide a response five days after the end of the war. On the other hand, Mykolaiv oblast council works almost at full capacity, despite the destroyed building and constant shelling.  The website of Mykolaiv oblast council contains almost all the information about council work and commission meetings, and the staff provided a timely response to the public movement's request.

As for Kyiv and Kharkiv oblast councils, they responded only a month after the request, when the analysis was already completed. Oblast councils of Poltava, Kharkiv, Ternopil, and Odesa oblasts still ignore the requests of the CHESNO movement. Chernivtsi oblast council reported that it had problems with the server.

CHESNO’s requests contained 11 marker questions on the activity of city and oblast councils between February 24 and the end of July 2022, which became evaluation criteria. All these criteria are in line with the current legislation. Every positive response scored a point. If the information used to be published before February 24, 2022, or is partly published, this was assessed as 0.5 points.

We remind you that, for two years now, there have been restrictions on access of journalists to the Verkhovna Rada. There are a number of restrictions in the parliament that apply not only to the attendance of the legislative body by journalists, but also to information about the work of people's elected representatives. For instance, the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada meeting is not announced in detail, nor are the exact place and time of the meeting itself. In addition, part of the information about MPs was removed from the Parliament's website, in particular, their personal profiles were closed. 

This, however, does not stop numerous MPs from working remotely from the Côte d'Azur or even filing legislative initiatives from there. Experts of the CHESNO Movement found more than a dozen such draft laws from runaway MPs. 

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