On February 17 Media Ethics Observatory rendered a judgment on the complaint of Anna Simonian regarding the photo story by Gagik Shamshian “Reportedly, The 38-Years Old Young Man Shot Himself Death”, placed on “Aravot” website (www.aravot.am) on February 7, 2012. It should be noted that the complaint became the discussion theme of February 17 “Press Club” TV cycle (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 17-23, 2012).
The MEO judgment noted that the identification in the piece of name and surname of the person, who has committed suicide, is not acceptable and runs counter Point 4.3 of Code of Conduct of Media Representatives: “to be especially tactful when the sources of information or the heroes of publications are (…) persons, who have committed suicide”; as well as “when collecting information about people that have suffered tragedy or sorrow, when taking interviews or photos of such people, or when broadcasting video or audio materials about them, to be tactful towards them”.
MEO considered that Point 4.4. was also violated during the selection of photos for the story. In this regard, MEO reminded about the necessity to be more delicate while reporting on tragic events. MEO called the media who had joined the self-regulation initiative to comply with requirements of Point 4.5 of the Code of Conduct: “To respect the presumption of innocence: when publishing the names of crime suspects before the trial, to consider the public need for doing so – striking a balance between the presumption of innocence, the right of crime suspects to fair trial, and the right of the public to be informed.”
MEO suggested “Aravot” daily, which had published the photo story, be more careful while covering tragic events and selecting materials and photos on them. (Full text of the MEO judgment is available in Armenian at YPC website www.ypc.am in “Self-Regulation” section.)
On February 29 the MEO judgment was stored on “Aravot” website (the daily is a member of the media self-regulation initiative).
Media Ethics Observatory was formed on March 10, 2007 by the heads of Armenian media who supported the YPC initiative on establishing a self-regulation system in Armenia and signed the Code of Conduct of Media Representatives and its Appendix, the Declaration on Election and Referendum Coverage Principles (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 9-15, 2007). The mission of the MEO consists in the consideration of complaints and appeals regarding the violations of the Code of Conduct of Media Representatives and making judgments on these. As of today the Code of Conduct and the Declaration are signed by 45 entities, representing 48 Armenian media; the initiative is supported by 9 journalistic associations (see details on www.ypc.am in “Self-Regulation” section). MEO contacts: email@example.com; tel. +374 10 53 76 62, 53 35 41, 53 00 67; fax +374 10 53 56 61. Complaints and applications to MEO can be addressed online, by filling out the form in Armenian on www.ypc.am homepage.