The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression has filed a number of claims in the RA Administrative Court in order to protect its right to freedom of information.
On June 4, 2013 the CPFE sent a letter to the RA Minister of Transport and Communications Gagik Beglaryan, requesting information about Armenia’s transition from analogue to digital broadcasting. In particular, the CPFE was interested in the following questions: have they announced a new competition for the construction and exploitation of a digital broadcasting system after the failure of the previous competition? If a new competition has been announced, what are the conditions and who is taking part in it? If no new competition has been announced, then what scenario for the construction and exploitation of a digital broadcasting system has been selected? The CPFE did not receive any reply within the timeframe set out in the law. Therefore, on June 27, the CPFE filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Transport and Communications at the Administrative Court of Armenia, demanding to recognize the actions (inaction) of the Ministry as unlawful and require it to provide the information in question.
This Administrative Court decided to admit the lawsuit on July 26. Once the Ministry received a copy of the lawsuit, it provided all the required information to the CPFE. In view of this fact, the CPFE withdrew the part of the claim to require the ministry to provide the information, but insisted on the demand to recognize the ministry’s inaction as unlawful.
The hearing in the case started on October 14 and was completed on November 7, 2013. The Court satisfied the CPFE claim in a decision made public on November 22, 2013.
On January 13, 2014, the Ministry of Transport and Communications appealed the decision in a higher court. The Court of Appeals considered the appeal on April 25 and rejected it, in accordance with a decision made public on May 27.
On February 21, 2011 the CPFE turned to the National Commission of Television and Radio (NCTR) with an official claim demanding copies of the applications and attached documents submitted for the auction of broadcasting licensing. The NCTR responded that the documents contain trade secret and, therefore, cannot be copied. According to the NCTR the rebroadcasting agreements attached to the required documents, as well as the personal data of the companies’ employees contain trade secret.
On April 11, CPFE filed a claim to the Administrative Court of Armenia against the National Commission of Television and Radio demanding that the NCTR provide information.
On September 27, the Administrative Court of Armenia rejected the claim filed by the CPFE.
On October 25, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression appealed the decision in the RA Administrative Appeal Court. On February 2, 2012, the Administrative Appeal Court satisfied the appeal, and the September 27, 2012 decision of the Administrative Court was annulled, the case was sent back to the Administrative Court for new examination.
The examination of the case is scheduled to be held in the Administrative Court of Armenia on July 19.
The examination of the case was held on July 19 in the Administrative Court of Armenia. On August 3, the court publicized its decision, which was to partially satisfy the claim. According to the decision, the refusal of the National Commission on Television and Radio to provide the personal data of the TV companies’ employees was recognized illegitimate, and the NCTR was obligated to provide the personal data of the TV companies’ employees attached to the documents submitted for the auction of broadcasting licensing. The court, however, rejected the demand to obligate the NCTR to provide the copies of agreements on rebroadcasting implementation. On September 3, the CPFE appealed this part of the decision in the Administrative Appeal Court. The appeal was taken into production on September 10.
On November 22, this instance examined the appeal of the CPFE. On December 13, 2012 the Administrative Appeal Court announced its decision to reject the CPFE’s appeal. On 14 January, 2013 the CPFE appealed this decision in the Cassation Court of Armenia, but the latter decided to return the appeal.
On February 11, 2011 the CPFE sent a query to the Ministry of Health asking to provide information on accredited journalists and refusals of accreditation. Not receiving the required information in terms described by law, on March 25, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression filed a claim in the Administrative Court against the Ministry of Health with the demand to recognize the activity (inactivity) of the latter as illegitimate and to obligate the ministry to provide the required information. The Ministry provided the requested information on April 5, after it received the claim, thus, violating the defined deadline. So the CPFE abandoned its demand for information provision.
On November 30, the Appeal Court satisfied the claim of the CPFE recognizing the activity of the Armenian Ministry of Health illegitimate. During the litigation the plaintiff abandoned its demand to obligate the respondent to provide information, as it has already received information after having turned to the court.
On December 27, the Armenian Ministry of Health appealed the decision in the Administrative Appeal Court. On April 4, 2012 the Administrative Appeal Court dismissed the appeal.
On April 28, the Armenian Ministry of Health appealed the decision in the RA Cassation Court, which returned the appeal on June 6, 2012.