YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


STATEMENT OF YEREVAN PRESS CLUB ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE EUROPEAN COURT ON “A1+” CASE

On June 18 Yerevan Press Club released a statement on the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of “A1+” TV company.

“On June 17, 2008 the European Court of Human Rights published its judgment on the case of “A1+” TV company founder, “Meltex” LLC and its President Mesrop Movsesian versus Republic of Armenia. The European Court concluded that an interference with the right of the TV company to freely impart information and ideas, as enshrined by Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, was made.

The failure to grant a broadcast license to “Meltex” LLC (“A1+” TV company), taking part in numerous competitions since 2002, is thus recognized to be a violation of international commitments by Armenia. In this regard we urge the competent bodies of Armenia not to confine to the monetary compensation, stipulated by the ruling of the European Court, but to adopt, in accordance with the legislation of the country, prompt measures to enable the TV company to come back on air as soon as possible. Only the acknowledgment by the Armenian authorities of the injustice that was made with regard to “A1+” and the practical steps aimed at its elimination can be a sign of our state’s respect towards democratic values and international legal norms.

The ruling of the European Court was an obvious proof of the incompliance of the RA broadcasting legislation with the standards of the Council of Europe, which was repeatedly stated by Yerevan Press Club over the past years. Taking into account the recommendations of Resolution 1609 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of April 17, 2008, the demands of the journalistic community of the country, as well as the circumstance that already this year new broadcast licensing competitions will be announced, we call on the RA National Assembly to immediately take up the reformation of the RA Law “On Television and Radio”, adjacent laws and normative acts. It is expedient to form new legal conditions and procedures for the regulation of the broadcast sphere during the upcoming months.

The adequate application and implementation of the laws has equal significance for the freedom of expression in Armenia. In this regard we continue to insist on our demand to take steps against persons and structures, responsible for the violation of legislation ahead of, during and after the elections of the RA President of 2008. The judgment of the RA Constitutional Court of March 8, 2008, the extraordinary report of the RA Human Rights Defender, published on April 25, 2008, the numerous media reports and statements of public organizations listed multiple references to such violations, yet they all remain without consequences.

We hope that the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of “A1+” will have a sobering effect on Armenian authorities, will help them realize that it is impossible to live in a civilized community and ignore its norms, endangering the international reputation of the country and its people”, the statement of Yerevan Press Club says.

“Asparez” Journalist’s Club of Gyumri also made a statement, which, in particular, assessed the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights as historical and confirming the conviction of a number of public organizations that “throughout six years the National Commission on Television and Radio treated the 12 bids of “A1+” TV company in arbitrary manner, thus inflicting a serious damage on the society, the TV company and its founder”.

At the press conference, held on June 18 in Yerevan, the RA Deputy Minister of Justice, the plenipotentiary representative of the RA Government at the European Court of Human Rights Gevorg Kostanyan noted, in particular, that, in accordance with the procedure adopted, by the judgment of ECHR the Armenian authorities will undertake an investigation to determine whether the violation of the right to freedom of expression was due to incompetent actions of officials or deficiencies in the legislation.