On May 19 the RA National Assembly in the second hearing and finally adopted
a draft law on introducing an amendment to the RA Criminal Code, abolishing
Article 318 (“Insult of Representative of Power”). The draft was presented by
deputies of “Orinats Yerkir” faction Hovhannes Margarian and Artashes Avoyan
and on March 20, 2008 it was adopted in the first hearing.
Article 318 stipulated a punishment by a fine, ranging from 100 to 500 minimal
salaries for public insult of a representative of power because of his/her duty
(Part 1), and in case of a repeated offence – by a fine, ranging from 300 to
1,000 minimal salaries or by imprisonment for not more than a year (Part 2).
As it has been reported, the amendments to Article 318 of the RA Criminal Code,
adopted on June 9, 2004, significantly mitigated the punishment for insulting
a representative of power (see Annual Report on the Freedom of Speech in Armenia
in 2004 at YPC web-site www.ypc.am, in “Studies” section). However, they did
not fully meet the expectations of international organizations and civil society,
who thought it unacceptable to have a provision in the legislation that ensures
greater protection of officials than of ordinary citizens. In 2007 Yerevan Press
Club submitted to all RA NA factions a package of amendments to the media-related
laws, also a proposal to abolish Article 318.