CPFE Quarterly Report (April-June 2012)

On the Situation with Freedom of Speech and Violations of Rights of Journalists and Media in Armenia

Brief Summary

The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression observes the Armenian media and media staff related conditions, events and problems and provides quarterlyand annual reports on the situation of freedom of expression in Armenia, violations of rights of media and journalists, including legislative changes, recommendations and procedures regulating the field, the influence of the economic environment and political factors on the media.

In the second quarter of 2012 two developments related to media legislation field were of special attention.

On April 25, the Armenian government introduced its conclusion to the President of the RA National Assembly on the draft law “On Television and Radio” developed by Yerevan Press Club, the “Internews” NGO and the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE). The discussions for improvement of the law will be continued.

On April 27, the RA Cassation Court publicized a precedential decision concerning the order and conditions of compensation for honor, dignity and business reputation slander (Article 1087.1 of the RA Civil Code). However, two circumstances in the analytical conclusion of the decision are of concern. In particular, the concept of “source of information” and extrajudicial solutions of information disputes were underestimated.

Regarding the impact of political environment on media activities the CPFE has fixed that the number of pressures on media and media staff significantly increases during elections. During May 6 parliamentary elections 3 cases of physical violence and 4 cases of hindrance to the receipt and dissemination of information were fixed. Although the situation was better in comparison with the elections of 2008, however, in comparison with the first quarter of 2012 the second one was much harder for the media. Particularly, the total number of violations of media and media staff rights doubled, 3 new cases of physical violence towards journalists were fixed, 10 cases of various pressures, 10 cases of violation of the right to receive and disseminate information.

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