YPC Weekly Newsletter

2001


MINISTER OF JUSTICE RESTRICTING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH?

On February 15, the first day of the trial on the terrorist attack committed on October 27, 1999 in Armenian Parliament, the RA Minister of Justice David Haroutiunian made a sensational statement – certain restrictions will be put on the coverage of the court proceedings by media. The Minister thinks this is necessitated by the exceptional importance of the case considered. In particular, according to David Haroutiunian, the media must be prohibited to publish the content of the testimonies given at the trial and must confine themselves to brief information only. Mr. Haroutiunian assured that the Court will make an appropriate decision on this.

According to media experts, this statement is nothing but a restriction on the freedom of speech, and, moreover, it is an attempt to introduce censorship into the coverage of the trail, which is of great public interest. It should also be noted that the trial is announced to be open, and every person has a right to receive complete information on the proceedings. The explanation given by the Minister that the measures to be taken are directed on ensuring the impartiality and objectivity of the trial sounds unconvincing, as it is impossible to conceal from the public the testimonies given in the presence of over 120 people.