On October 10, Information Disputes Council adopted an expert conclusion on the case of Hayk Babukhanian, Chairman of the Editorial Council of “Iravunk” newspaper, versus founder of Report.am news portal, “Khmbagir” LLC, and Report.am observer Edik Andreasian. As it has been reported, the reason for going to law was the article “When Forcing the Unpromptable” (stored on Report.am on March 25, 2011) and the reader comments to it. Along with refuting the information, discrediting his honor, dignity and business reputation, Hayk Babukhanian demanded the moral damage of 1 million AMD (more than $ 2,500) and the court costs. The court hearings on the case started on June 15, 2011. On March 12, 2012 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan revoked the suit as unjustified (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 9-15, 2012).
In its conclusion the Information Disputes Council reminded that when admitting the suit, the court had satisfied the plaintiff’s motion on banning the respondent to store any defamatory publications or comments about Hayk Babukhanian on Report.am. According to the IDC, freedom of speech, ensured in the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and RA Constitution, may be limited only by law and in cases prescribed by it. Hence, by satisfying the motion, the court has actually applied censorship, and thus restricted the freedom of speech.
The IDC noted that the issues regarding reader comments have already been considered in another IDC conclusion of May 30, 2012 on the suit of advocate Artur Grigorian versus founder of “Hraparak” daily, and its assessments equally apply to this case.
The full expert conclusion of the Information Disputes Council is available in Armenian and in English at http://www.ypc.am/expert/ln/eng.