JUDGMENT OF THE COUNCIL ON INFORMATION DISPUTES ON THE SUIT OF TIGRAN ARZAKANTSIAN VERSUS “IRAVUNK” FOUNDER. On July 22 the Council on Information Disputes released the third expert judgment on a defamation case. It regards the suit of RA National Assembly Deputy, member of the Republican Party of Armenia Tigran Arzakantsian versus the founder of “Iravunk” newspaper, “Iravunk Media” LLC. The matter of the suit became the piece “Lost a Pretty Penny?” published in “Iravunk” on February 22, 2011. The plaintiff demanded to refute the information discrediting his honor and dignity, oblige the newspaper founder to compensate 3 million AMD (about $ 8,100), as well as pay off the court expenses of 568,000 AMD. On June 24 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan acknowledged all the demands as ungrounded and resolved to exact from Tigran Arzakantsian the state duty of 10,000 AMD for addressing the court (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 24-30, 2011). The Council on Information Disputes concluded that the court decision was rendered in compliance with all the principles of national and international law.
FOUNDER OF “HRAPARAK” STRIVES FOR INSTITUTING CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS VERSUS HEAD OF “ZINVOR”. On July 25 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan secured the suit of founder of “Hraparak” daily, “Hraparak Oratert” LLC, versus the RA Investigative Service and the supervising prosecutor, who have denied instituting criminal proceedings on the incident of April 21, 2011 at the daily’s editorial office. On that day Margarita Khachatrian, Chairwoman of “Zinvor” (“Soldier”) Association of NGOs, accompanied by three people, came to the editorial office to express her indignation regarding the “Hraparak” editorial informing about her visit to one of the military units. While talking with the staff the Head of “Zinvor” was free-spoken, threw at them everything that came to hand, trying to strike, as a result they had to call the police. On May 23 “Hraparak” received a notification that the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan submitted to consideration the suit of Margarita Khachatrian versus the newspaper founder. The Head of “Zinvor” demanded to refute the information published in the editorial, recompense the damage, made by libel and defamation, of 2 million AMD (about $ 5,400) and cover the state duty for filing the court. On May 26 the law enforcement bodies notified the newspaper that criminal proceedings on the incident were not instituted as a result of absence of corpus delicti (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, May 20-26, 2011). The July 25 court decision in favor of “Hraparak” was, in its turn, appealed at the RA Criminal Court of Appeal by the supervising prosecutor. However, on September 1, the court revoked the appeal, upholding the decision of the court of general jurisdiction.
INTERIM REPORT OF “ASPAREZ” ON MONITORING THE ADVERTISING ON THE AIR OF PTA FIRST CHANNEL. On July 28 “Asparez” Journalists Club of Gyumri released the interim report for March-April 2011 on the monitoring of advertising volume and its distribution on the air of First Channel of Public Television of Armenia. The study covers the period of March 1, 2011 – March 31, 2012 and is conducted under a project of “Asparez” supported by Open Society Foundations-Armenia and Counterpart International Armenia. “Asparez” has administered similar studies of advertising by the public broadcaster on December 31, 2010, January 1, 14 and 15, 2011 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 4-10, 2011, and January 10-20, 2011). On all these days, like in March-April, 2011, violations of legislative requirements by the PTA First Channel, specifically, on the excess of advertising volume, were detected. The interim report of “Asparez” for March-April, 2011 is available at www.asparez.am.
INCIDENT BETWEEN “HAYKAKAN ZHAMANAK” CORRESPONDENT AND POLICEMEN. On July 28 at about 23.30 at the Republic Square of Yerevan Ani Gevorgian, correspondent of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, witnessed how the police were detaining a woman that had disturbed the public order. When the police officers noticed that the journalist is taking pictures, one of them came up to her shouting “Why are you shooting, mind your own business?!”, and tried to pull out the camera. On July 30 “Haykakan Zhamanak” published an information about the incident, attended with photos, including the ones of the policeman who had assaulted the journalist. In P.S. the daily noted that the published information might be considered as a communication about a crime. According to “Haykakan Zhamanak”, criminal proceedings on the incident with Ani Gevorgian haven not been instituted.
FOUNDER OF “HAYKAKAN ZHAMANAK” INTENDS TO ADDRESS THE ECHR. On August 3 RA Court of Cassation revoked the application of the founder of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, “Dareskizb” LLC, on recognizing invalid the ruling of the court of second jurisdiction on the suit of RA National Assembly MPs Samvel Aleksanian (unaffiliated), Levon Sargsian and Ruben Hayrapetian (members of Republican Party of Armenia faction). The reason for the suit became the piece “Seven of the Eight Are in the List”, published in “Haykakan Zhamanak” on October 14, 2010. The article told that some of the Armenian officials and businessmen, including the abovementioned RA NA Deputies (who are at the same time major entrepreneurs), appear in a number of criminal cases, instituted by the Russian law enforcement bodies. On February 7, 2011 the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan secured the demands of the MPs on refuting the information that discredits their honor, dignity and business reputation, obliging the “Haykakan Zhamanak” founder to pay off a moral compensation and the state duty for filling the court, with an overall amount of 6 million 132 thousand AMD (about $ 16,800). On June 9 RA Civil Court of Appeal resolved to uphold the ruling of the court of general jurisdiction finding no grounds for reconsideration (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 3-9, 2011). The Court of Cassation, in its turn, revoked the complaint of “Haykakan Zhamanak”. Thus, “Dareskizb” LLC has announced about its intention to address the European Court of Human Rights.
“A1+” VERSUS NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TELEVISION AND RADIO. On August 11 RA Administrative Court ended the preliminary hearings on the suit of “A1+” founder, “Meltex” LLC, versus National Commission on Television and Radio. On February 21, 2011 “Meltex” contested the results of digital broadcast licensing competition No.11. The founders of “A1+” and “ArmNews” TV companies were opponents in this competition (the latter became the winner). “Meltex” addressed the court demanding to nullify the December 16, 2010 NCTR decision on competition No.11. At the preliminary hearings, started on May 11, 2011, the arguments of the parties were clarified. The plaintiff presented a supplement to the suit, which listed the contradictions as contained in the bid of “ArmNews”, and which was ignored by the NCTR while determining the competition winner (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, July 8-14, 2011). The trial on the merits of the case will be held on September 16.
TIGRAN ARZAKANTSIAN VERSUS “YERKIR” FOUNDER: COMPLAINTS OF BOTH PARTIES ARE REVOKED. On August 24 RA Civil Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the court of general jurisdiction on the suit of Tigran Arzakantsian, RA National Assembly MP, member of Republican Party of Armenia faction, versus founder of “Yerkir” daily, “’Yerkir Editorial Office” LLC. The reason of the suit became the piece about Tigran Arzakantsian, appeared in “Yerkir” on January 13, 2011 within the column “131 Faces and the Masks”. The plaintiff demanded to refute the information discrediting his honor and dignity, oblige the daily to publish the court ruling on the case, exact 3 million AMD (about $ 8,200) from the respondent as a compensation for libel and defamation, as well as compensate the court expenses of 568,000 AMD. On June 8 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan secured the suit of Tigran Arzakantsian partially, obliging the newspaper to publish the operative part of the judgment, to pay 200,000 AMD as a compensation for insult, as well as pay off the court expenses of 88,000 AMD (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 3-9, 2011). Both parties appealed this ruling: the plaintiff demanded to abolish it fully, the respondent – to call off the part regarding the insult.