On December 8-9 in Yerevan a conference titled “Freedom of Expression in a Democratic Society and the Role of the Courts: Implementation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights”. The conference was organized by the Armenian mission of Central and Eastern European Law Initiative of the American Bar Association with the support of USAID and the Council of Europe.
The event participants – the judges, prosecutors, lawyers and journalists of Armenia – studied the European criteria of freedom of expression and the precedents of the application of Article 10 of ECHR by the European Court of Human Rights. The discussion subject was the presentations of experts from the Council of Europe, European Court, the USA, Poland, the representatives of the legal and court system of Armenia, devoted, in particular, to such subjects as: the main principles of freedom of expression; the solution of the controversies between the freedom of expression and the right to privacy, respect for honor and reputation; the role of the national courts in the protection of freedom of expression; the role, the rights and the responsibilities of the media in a democratic society; the freedom of expression: Armenian legislation and practice.
For the participants to be able to compare the European and American experience accumulated in this area with that of Armenia, specific cases from the practice of European Court, the US Supreme Court, the RA Court of Cassation related to the right of journalists to the freedom of expression. The decisions made by the highest judicial authority of Armenia were hotly debated. The opinions on whether the journalists were to be “punished or mercied”, proceeding from the precedents of the European Court of Human Rights and Article 10 of ECHR, divided.
Similar event acquires great importance in the view of the fact that after the European Convention is ratified by the Parliament of Armenia, its underlying principles will have to be considered in the judicial practice of the country.