COURT CASES AGAINST MEDIA AND JOURNALISTS  IN 2022-2023: media monitoring report

From August 1 to December 31, 2023, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE) conducted a monitoring of court cases against media and journalists. The monitoring covered the lawsuits filed with courts, the objections raised, the course of case proceedings, as well as the rendered verdicts and decisions. Based on the findings, including statistical data, the CPFE carried out an analysis and prepared the current Report[1]. This is the CPFE’s fourth study of a similar nature. This time, the monitoring focused on the insult and defamation court cases initiated against media and journalists in the years 2022 and 2023. The monitoring also covered the lawsuits accepted for proceedings in 2021, with verdicts issued in 2023.

The continuity of the monitoring is crucial for identifying the ongoing trends in judicial practice and assessing the impact of extensive judicial reforms announced by the government in recent years on court cases involving journalists and media.

In he course of the current study, the CPFE identified the extent of the courts’ adherence to the legal framework regulating the media, international conventions, as well as the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, the RA Constitutional Court and the RA Court of Cassation when examining insult and defamation disputes and issuing judgments in their regard. Recognizing the uniform legal interpretation of cases with similar factual data as one of the key indicators of predictable justice, the monitoring team also gave attention to this aspect: the CPFE identified cases where the provisions of the same law were interpreted in different ways by the courts.

The independence of media and journalists is crucial for a democratic society, therefore this study delves into whether the courts take into account their mission, the standards of freedom of speech and its public interest. When analyzing some cases, reference was made to the judgments and opinions of the Information Disputes Council professional initiative.

In the course of monitoring, the analysis of the court cases was conducted using the following criteria related to their content and judicial aspects:

  • defamatory nature of information
  • distinguishing between facts and value judgments
  • pecuniary and non-pecuniary compensation
  • challenge of identifying the proper defendant
  • reasoning in judicial acts
  • application of a measure to secure the claim
  • litigation costs (amount of state duty, attorney’s fee, etc.).

The monitoring of court cases against journalists and media holds substantial importance, primarily to assess the legality and proportionality of potential restrictions on freedom of speech. It seeks to pinpoint the existing problems, proposing solutions and enhancing judicial practices. The study, whose findings are presented below, specifically aimed to achieve this objective.



[1] This Report has been developed as part of a Project supported by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. The information, opinions, and assessments presented in this document are the sole responsibility of the CPFE and may not align with the views and positions of the Government of Canada.


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