YPC Weekly Newsletter

2001


THE SUIT OF “ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB REFUSED

On December 28, the court of primary jurisdiction of Center and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan refused the suit on the rehabilitation and protection of the rights of citizens and journalists to information filed by the Chairman of the Board of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club Levon Barseghian and the Correspondent of “Iravunk” newspaper in the Shirak region Gagik Nikoghosian. As it has already been reported, the suit voiced two demands to the City Examination Commission on Admissions to the State Higher Education Institutions of Gyumri: to annul the decision of the Admissions Commission prohibiting the presence of journalists in the examination room during the last hour of the written exams; require the Commission to open to the journalists the minutes, which do not contain state or official secrets (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 29 – October 5, 2001).

According to the court resolution adopted, the decision of the Admissions Commission on prohibiting the presence of journalists in the exam room is truly ungrounded, however, it proceeds from the explanations of the parties that after the intervention of the “Asparez” representatives, the entrance of the journalists was allowed by the Admissions Commission. Thus, as the resolution mentions, the dispute had already been settled during the exams and out of the court, and therefore, no rights of journalists have been violated. The court decision mentions also that currently the minutes of the sessions of the Admissions Commission are freely accessible, and therefore, the rights of the plaintiffs have not been infringed in this regard, either.

As Yerevan Press Club was told by the Chairman of the Board of “Asparez” Journalists’ Club Levon Barseghian, during the court proceedings, the respondent presented the minutes of fours sessions of the Admissions Commission, and “Asparez” will solicit the rest of them. To this effect, on January 9, 2002, the organization addressed a written request to the RA Minister of Education and Science Levon Mkrtchian for the provision of the copies of all session minutes of the Admissions Commission of Gyumri, which are to be further reproduced and disseminated among journalists by “Asparez”.

In the opinion of Levon Barseghian, it is also necessary to investigate the possible fraud on behalf of the Admissions Commission. As the representative of the respondent Susanna Mkhitarian said in court, the documents, adopted by the Commission and currently at the disposal of the Ministry of Education and Science, prohibit the video shooting the exam room and say nothing about the disallowance of journalists’ presence. The suspicions of the plaintiff, that the document might have been forged, were introduced into the court minutes. “It would be reasonable to expect the judge to separate this into a case for further investigation, yet he did not do that”, Barseghian noted. “Asparez” intends to address the Ministry of Justice of Armenia, the Control Service at the RA President and the General Prosecutor’s Office, to call their attention to the possible violations committed by the Gyumri Admissions Commission.