YPC Weekly Newsletter

2013


POLITICALLY MOTIVATED DEFAMATION LAWSUITS NO LONGER APPEAR TO BE A SERIOUS PROBLEM IN ARMENIA, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH BELIEVES

On January 31, the international "Human Rights Watch" organization released its report on human rights practices in over 90 countries of the world in 2012.

In the section on Armenia, the report also presents the situation on the freedom of expression. “Politically motivated defamation lawsuits no longer appear to be a serious problem,” the report of “Human Rights Watch” emphasizes, in particular. At the same time, the authors of the report reminded about the June 2012 Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe report on media freedom in Europe, which found that Armenian journalists’ capacity to report was “hampered by pressures of self-censorship” and expressed concern about Armenian TV companies’ use of political advertisements in news coverage. The “Human Rights Watch” also indicates some cases of journalists’ rights violation: on May 6, 2012, on the day of elections to RA National Assembly, incidents occurred with Elina Chillingarian, correspondent of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian Service, in Yerevan, and with Karen Alekian, correspondent of  “Maks-Info” news agency, in Gyumri.

However, we would like to stress that the suit of businessman Khachik Khachatrian against “Zhoghovurd” daily, filed in the beginning of the year (see above, as well as the “Property of "Zhoghovurd" Daily Put under Arrest” of YPC Weekly Newsletter), signifies that the Armenian court practice on defamation cases against media is still not immune from decisions that restrict the freedom of expression, and this issue should be in the spotlight of journalistic and human rights organizations.