Case: Protection of environmental activist Mr. Malytskyi
Region: Mykolaiv region, Mykolaiv city
Essence of the case: Protection of the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression
Ecoactivist, member of oblast association “Green world” O. Malytskyi; newspaper “Evening Mykolaiv”.
State company “Energoatom”, independent branch “South-Ukrainian Nuclear Powerplant” (SUNPP).
Essence of the Problem:
Energoatom in the name of South-Ukrainian Nuclear Powerplant (SUNPP) filed a case to Lenin rayon court of Mykolaiv city on defamation, demanding rebutment of presumably false information spread by Mr. Malytskyi and compensation of moral damages in the amount of 100 000 UAH.
SUNPP filed a case to court because of the presumably false information spread in the newspaper article “Tashlytska HAES: is it really needed?”, published on May 17, 2005 in the local newspaper “Evening Mykolaiv”. The plaintiff claims that this publication affected the business reputation of NAEK “Energoatom” and caused moral damages in the amount of 100 000 UAH. The claimant asked the court to collect compensation of moral damages in full from the defendant, to rebut presumably false information and apologize. Newspaper “Evening Mykolaiv” as a second defendant received the request to publish rebutment of presumably false information by Mr. Malytskyi.
The article, which was published by Mr. Malytskyi, is based on numerous official sources, publications in mass media. It is dedicated to the issues of nuclear and radiation safety of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, development of nuclear sector and construction of Tashlytskoi HAES as part of South-Ukrainian energy complex, and it continues public discussion of the issue which is of interest for the society.
Publication of this article, we believe, is the exercise of the right to freedom of expression by Mr. Malytskyi, envisaged by art.10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and exercise of the constitutional right to freedom of expression, limitation to which due to the protection of business reputation of a legal entity (state company) is illegal.
On February, 3, 2006, Lenin rayon court of Mykolaiv city passed a decision on the claim of NAEK “Energoatom” against Mr. Malytskyi and newspaper “Evening Mykolaiv” by which the claim was partially satisfied. The court declared the facts from the article “Tashlytska HAES: is it really needed?” as false and affecting business reputation of the plaintiff, and asked the defendant to rebut false statements and to pay compensation of moral damages to plaintiff in the amount of 2500 UAH and 125 UAH of court fees.
The defendant Mr. Malytskyi appealed this decision and on 14 April 2006 the Appellate Court of Odessa region ruled to reject the appeal and leave the decision of the lower court in force and without changes.
The second appeal filed to the Supreme Court of Ukraine was considered by the Appellate Court of Kherson region as cessation court and on 29 November 2007 it ruled to reject the second appeal and leave in force the decision of the court of the first instance.
EPL represented in court the defendant Mr. Malytskyi.