IRMI trainers shared with public information officers of Odessa Oblast courts the practicalities of crisis resolution and conflict management

Trainings for Public Information Officers (PIOs) of Oblast courts took place in Odessa. The trainers of Institute for Regional Media and Information facilitated the discussion on the ways of establishing open and fair relations between the courts, the media and the public.  The training was cartried out within a project, initiated by the Association of Lawyers of Odessa Region, National School of Judges and Odessa District Administartive Court. The project is being realized with the support of Fair Justice Program of US Agency for International Development (USAID). 

“Those two training events have turned out to be very multifaceted but fruitful,” says Olha Pasichnyk, the Chief of Staff of Odessa District Administrative Court. „We are very grateful to the trainers for that. During day one essential issues were introduced and discussed. Mykhailo Buromenskyi –the trainer- told the participants about international standards of fair justice, the tendencies legal regulation of media performance in Ukraine, access to public information  and legal bases of information activity.   I can say that his session was full of useful information that presented the attendees with essential knowledge.  Practical assignments and feedback offered by Oleksiy Soldatenko and Iryna Ilchenko were of equal importance. It was comprehensive, very interesting and, again, highly productive. 

The attendees were trained to deal with crisis situations and manage conflicts. In particular, they developed and shared core and backup plans for various situations of crisis, improved their skills on how to prepare information letters for the media and statements and how to promptly react if fake information has been disseminated.  The participants were trained to handle conflicts professionally and achieve understanding with community representatives. 

– It goes without saying that there are a number of issues that the professionals have to deal with. Among those are low motivation as to the openness of courts, low salaries of staff workers, despite the fact that they now have to handle not only their usual duties, but also new ones that are rather numerous. Some staff members are willing to protect “their” courts and “thier” judges from outer “attacks”. It first and foremost concerns small courts that are located in small localities almost void of the media. “This all mounts to a very complicated set of issues,” reckons Mykhailo Buromenskyi, an IRMI expert, President of Institute of Applied Humanitarian Studies and Member of the Constitutional Presidential Commission.  “Practice and daily life, however, are the best motivators,” he adds. 

First of the trainings for PIOs took place in mid March and was dedicated to the principles of communication strategy development for the judiciary and its approaches. It also discussed PIOs round of duties and trained the participants on how to communicate with the media.  The trainees did a SWOT-analysis and participated in a mock press-conference.  The final training for Court Public Information Officers is to take part in May. It is planned to invite reporters to participate.


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