Погода
30 Января 2020
Foreigners

Aleksandr Ostashevsky: “Every Year, Kuban Courts Have to Address 150–160 Libel Actions”

Источник фото: Игорь Чураков
Источник фото: Игорь Чураков

Krasnodar, 30 January – Yug Times. 12+ Q.: How can you describe the relationship between the journalistic community and the court system in Krasnodar province?

A.: We have built up efficient relations with the courts. Judges are now treating mass media as their helpers that nevertheless need thorough watch and care. One way or another, we have managed to overcome a common trend that alleged that media was always to blame. Generally, the Kuban mentality used to think that any newspaper is a liar. There is one more indicator of our good relations with the courts. Now it has become easier to get information by taking part in suits. In the past, judges used to turn out correspondents from court sessions, ignoring the fact that media can be present in public trials. Now we can get a permission without a problem. I several times wrote in the Novaya Gazeta, proving that a journalist has a right to be present and take audio records of a trial.

Q.: Presently, there are lots of laws journalists must obey. But still, we fear lest we could say something wrong –

A.: Yes, there are lots of bills. As for the Law “On mass media,” it has become obsolete. It needs either to be expanded, or the entire legislative framework that applies to the press should be reorganised into one large law that would include all regulatory enactments. Plaintiffs usually claim that according to Clause 2 of Article 49 of the Law “On mass media,” journalists must check the trustworthiness of their information. However trustworthiness of information is a very changeable thing in the conceptual system. I may see a thing this way, and you may see it quite differently.

Q.: Why are media so reluctant to publish denials if they were wrong and prefer going to court instead?

A.: We have lost this culture, but now we are gradually resuming it. In the Soviet time, it was normal when newspapers apologised if they had committed a mistake, and that did not damage their reputation at all. The impossibility to acknowledge a mistake may be coming from editors with an authoritarian mind. When papers reported to local Communist Party committees and Soviets, they published many critical articles, and journalists were confident that they were right. Now such immunity vanished, and they lost a feeling of being protected and safe.

Q.: You wrote over a hundred academic publications and three monographs. Are you currently working on any project or article?

A.: I am working on two projects. The first one is a book tentatively entitled, “A History of Censorship and Press.” This will be an about 800-page book. It is commonly believed that the history of the press began in England, France or Germany, maybe Spain or Italy would be mentioned there. But the world is much wider. There are, for instance, studies about the origins of the media in Latin America.

The second project is a little bit conflictogenic. It will be devoted to the theme of appearance of information wars, their actions and consequences at an example of the Order of Jesuits. I am continuing working, because all these issues are relevant for us as well.


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