Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
On the Situation with Freedom of Speech and Violations of Rights of Journalists and Media in Armenia
Media Activities Environment
Since 2010, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE) has been providing interim quarterly reports on the situation of the freedom of expression in Armenia, violations of rights of journalists, including legislative changes, recommendations and procedures regulating the media and the influence of economic and political factors on the Armenian media.
The third quarter of 2011 was marked with two significant events in the field of media legislation. One of them refers to the draft amendments and changes to the Armenian Law on “Television and Radio”, and the other one refers to a legal provision in the Armenian Code of Civil Procedure, which was applied by the Cassation Court of Armenia while returning the cassation appeal of the founder of the “A1+” TV “Meltex” Ltd.
In our first quarterly report we informed that in January of 2011 the Chairman of “Journalists for Future” NGO Suren Deheryan sent an open letter to the Chairman of the National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) Grigor Amalyan on behalf of young people with impaired hearing from “The Voice of Silence” group. In the letter, he expressed concern that as a result of a decrease in the amount of TV channels (functioning in Yerevan) from 22 to 18 the right of the deaf community to receive information was limited, as now we have no TV channel, which broadcast news with simultaneous sign language translation.
The letter writer estimated this situation as contributing to the isolation of the community of deaf people from events, and violating their right of receiving information and the principle of equality of the RA citizens. The letter also informed that despite the fact that some news programs of other TV Companies are accompanied by a creeping line, it is not available for all 3500 citizens who have problems with hearing. Besides, there was a request in the response letter to include the names of winner TV companies who had the sign language in their application packages.
On February 4, Suren Deheryan convened a press conference on this issue and informed that Grigor Amalyan did not give an answer to the above-mentioned question, instead he tried to justify that the right of the country’s population with impaired hearing is not violated, as the news programs of TV Companies are accompanied by Armenian subtitles. In their turn, young people with impaired hearing and sign language translators present at the conference stated that it is not comfortable to receive the information through subtitles, as it not only strains the eyes, but also does not correspond to the images shown at the moment, thus evoking extra perplexity.