YPC Weekly Newsletter

2004


MEDIA LEGISLATION AND THE RIGHTS OF JOURNALISTS IN SOUTH CAUCASUS

On September 15 at the House of Journalist the presentation of “Harmonization
of Media Legislation of South Caucasus Countries with European Standards” book
was held. The book was published in the Russian and English languages under
a homonymous regional project, implemented by the Committee to Protect Freedom
of Expression (Armenia), Baku Press Club (Azerbaijan) and the Association of
Young Lawyers of Georgia with the support of South Caucasus Cooperation Program
of Eurasia Foundation.

The publication presents reports on the media-related legislations of Armenia,
Azerbaijan and Georgia, their comparative analysis as well as recommendations
on their improvement. The recommendations on harmonizing the Armenian media
legislation with European standards, in particular, note the need to decriminalize
libel and insult, strengthen the protection of information sources, for changes
in the procedures of forming the broadcast regulation bodies, simplification
of access to information and the procedure for the accreditation of journalists
with the state administration bodies.

The second part of the book is devoted to the violation of the rights of journalists
and media in 2001-2003 in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and its comparative analysis.
In particular, in all the three countries of South Caucasus there is a trend
for deterioration of general media and journalist rights practices. The biggest
number of violations in each country is dated 2003 – the year of elections in
Armenia and Azerbaijan, “the rose revolution” in Georgia. And the same 2003
was the peak year in terms of violence against journalists.

Thus, the developments of this year show the intensification of a wish to settle
accounts with “excessively curious journalists” by physical force.