On April 19 the President of Armenia Robert Kocharian signed the RA Law “On Fight Against Terrorism”, approved by the RA National Assembly on March 22. As it has been reported, the draft passed the second hearing on March 1 and some of its provisions alarmed the journalistic community, since they restricted the right of media representatives to access and dissemination of information, related to terrorism (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 25 – March 3, 2005).
The changes in the final text of the document did not essentially affect the restrictive provisions on media activities. In particular, Article 14 of the Law prohibits the dissemination of information that disclose the methods and devices used in antiterrorist actions, can obstruct their implementation and represent danger for the life and health of citizens, as well as are directed to promotion or justification of terrorism. Besides, the journalists are not allowed to disseminate information on the activities of state bodies, participating in the anti-terrorist actions, the staff of special services and their subdivisions on fight against terrorism, as well as on people who assisted the anti-terrorist actions.
In other words, provisions have come into force that can very loosely be interpreted and become another barrier for the “fourth estate”. Taking into account the numerous problems that the country has with free expression and access to official information, the risk, that this is what will happen, is quite high.