NGL.media loses access lawsuit against the Lviv RMA
The Supreme Court refused to consider a cassation appeal against the decision of the Eighth Administrative Court of Appeals to essentially overturn the verdict by the Lviv District Administrative Court judge, Halyna Morska, who had ordered the Lviv RMA to provide the records related to the abuse of the "Shlyakh" system.
As noted by the editors of NGL.media, their attempts to obtain these records legally went on for over six months and was unsuccessful.
As IMI reported, in May 2023 the Lviv District Administrative Court satisfied the lawsuit by "Nashi Hroshi. Lviv" co-founder, Oleksandra Hubytska, and obliged the Lviv Regional Military Administration (LRMA) to disclose the information about men who used the "Shlyakh" system to travel abroad and did not come back to Ukraine.
The court ordered the LRMA to provide copies of the decisions on the revocation of permission to leave Ukraine for the drivers who were transporting humanitarian cargo between February 24, 2022 and January 30, 2023, showing their surnames, first names, and patronymics. The LRMA revoked these decisions after it became evident that 234 men who left the country through the "Shlyakh" system with LRMA-issued permits did not come back within the stipulated time.
Judge Halyna Morska, who tried the case, decided that the refusal to provide annexes to the orders on the grounds that they contain personal data of individuals is invalid, since the documents can be provided only the surname,the first name, and the patronymic, without disclosing the rest of the information which might allow to identify the person (passport series and number, date of birth, etc.).
In their response to the lawsuit, the LRMA lawyers claimed that the administration was not a proper defendant, and Oleksandra Hubytska was not a proper plaintiff, because the lawsuit was not filed by the media outlet, and insisted that the requested information was not of public interest.
"The public interest cannot be reduced to the desire of the public to obtain information about the private life of other people or to the desire of the audience to learn something sensational. The [LRMA] believes that the information requested by the 'Nashi Hroshi. Lviv' journalist is not necessary for them to carry out the work of promoting public discussion on socially important issues, and also considers the claim that the journalist requested the information in order to satisfy the public interest unconfirmed," reads the response of the LRMA lawyers.
However, the judge reasonably decided that the requested information was of significant public interest.
"It is necessary for a person to perform their work of promoting public discussion on socially important issues, and the journalist did request the information in order to satisfy the public interest," noted the Lviv District Administrative Court judge, Halyna Morska.
Legal support to the NHL editors was provided by Yevhen Vorobyov, a lawyer with the NGO "Human Rights Platform".
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