At the session of RA National Assembly on February 21, during the traditional questions of the Parliament to the RA Government, the deputies demanded that the RA Minister of Justice David Haroutiunian explain the announcement made by him last week about the necessity to restrict the coverage of the trial on the case of terrorist attack on October 27, 1999. This attention of the deputies was caused by the extremely negative response of the media to the possible ban on comprehensive coverage of the trial.
However, David Haroutiunian persisted in his point and even tried to find justification for his declaration. He even contrasted the freedom of speech and justice, offering to determine which is more important… According to the Minister, the witnesses may change their testimonies if they learn from the media what other witnesses had been saying.
Yet, Mr. Haroutiunian admits that he is expressing his personal point of view. Other lawyers – such as the Head of the Law Department of RA National Assembly Vladimir Nazarian and the Chairman of RA NA Standing Committee on State and Legal Issues Victor Dallakian – think that there are no serious grounds to impose restrictions on the coverage of this trial, first of all, because the trial is open.
Some experts also argue that considering the presence of over 120 people in the court hall, each of the witnesses may learn what the testimonies of others, including the opposing party, were. So, objectively, this will happen sooner, than a TV program is broadcasted or an article on the trial is published. Thus, the restrictions, suggested by the Minister, will not yield the results that he expects. Still, the freedom of speech will be infringed, and the public, that is greatly interested in the case, will not receive compete and impartial information. However, the Court so far refrains from taking the decision on restricting the coverage of the trial, and this inspires hope.