On November 23, RA Civil Court of Appeals considered the complaint of Margarita Khachatrian, Chairwoman of “Zinvor” (“Soldier”) Association of NGOs. The latter had appealed the ruling of the general jurisdiction court upon her suit versus “Hraparak” daily founder, “Hraparak Oratert” LLC. As we have reported, the reason for filing the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan was the piece that informed about Margarita Khachatrian’s visit to one of the military units. The piece was published in “Hraparak” on April 21, 2011. The Head of “Zinvor” demanded refutation, moral damage for libel and insult in the amount of 2 million AMD (about $ 5,400) and the court costs. At the hearings that ended on July 13, 2012 Margarita Khachatrian dropped the financial claims towards the “Hraparak” founder, upholding only the demand for refutation. On July 30, the Court of General Jurisdiction did not sustain the case. On August 27, 2012 Margarita Khachatrian contested this ruling at the Civil Court of Appeals, which admitted the complaint on September 11. In the October 15, 2012 expert conclusion the Information Disputes Council did not uphold the court’s position, which declined the suit, considering that the disputed information was presented in good faith: since the piece quoted the opinion of Margarita Khachatrian, who refuted that there has been an incident between her and the headquarters at the military unit, the court found that the piece, in fact, contained a refutation. According to the IDC, this form of reporting cannot be considered as a proper refutation, defined in the RA Law “On Mass Communication”, and it does not exempt the media from the obligation of publishing a refutation (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 12-18, 2012).
The Civil Court of Appeals stroke down the ruling of the first instance court. According to its ruling of November 23, “Hraparak” newspaper should publish a refutation, while its founder should compensate the court costs of Margarita Khachatrian in the amount of 14,000 AMD.