“TNS Energo Penza” to learn more on photo journalists’ rights from APF
Penza, 24 November 2015. PenzaNews. Experts from the Center for Legal Support of Journalists under the All-Russian People’s Front (APF) have studied the November 3 incident involving the PenzaNews agency photo reporter Maxim Kostyushin, and concluded the staff of “TNS Energo Penza” did not have the rights to restrict his rights as a media representative to take photos of the building.
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Because of that, APF experts will send a cheat-sheet letter to the top management of “TNS Energo Penza” with a detailed explanation of the violations committed by its staff members, as a measure to prevent such incidents from taking place in the future.
“The experts at the Center have concluded that the actions taken by the energy company violate the Media Law and the imposed restrictions were unfounded. In particular, according to Article 47, journalists have the rights to search, request, obtain and disseminate information, visit state bodies and organizations, companies and institutions, and collect data in various forms, including photography, with some exceptions. However, the Media Law does not list any cases when a journalist needs to negotiate for a photo shoot of a building in advance, with exception to locations of strategic importance as this constitutes classified information,” reads the APF press release dated Tuesday, November 24.
It also notes that the staff of “TNS Energo Penza” has provided the PenzaNews photo reporter no factual information about their building being a location of strategic importance; moreover, the building enjoys free access, and taking photos by the location does not constitute interference with the company’s activities.
All facts of unwarranted restriction on rights of reporters must be monitored and followed with a response, says Natalya Kostenko, head of the Center for Legal Support of Journalists, member of the APF Central Headquarters.
If that does not happen, in her opinion, any organization, institution and person will feel entitled to repress journalists for attempting to report their activities.
“It is not clear why ‘TNS Energo Penza,’ a guaranteed supplier where any power consumer can apply to sign an agreement, prohibits taking photos of its building. The behavior of its staff can elicit only one reaction from the citizens of the region: suspicion that they are trying to hide something from the journalists and the public. We would like to urge the management of ‘TNS Energo Penza’ to prevent such outright breaches of law and restrictions on media rights from taking place in the future. To help achieve that, we are sending the company management a cheat sheet on media rights that, we regret to say, are currently being violated by its staff,” Natalya Kostenko pointed out.