On February 28 Yerevan Press Club launched a new online periodical in Armenian - YPC Review. The publication will deal with the most urgent issues of information sphere, inviting experts and journalists to join discussions. Arevhat Grigorian is the Editor of YPC Review.
Since March 1 YPC runs the Armenian version of its website, www.ypc.am.
The online publication and YPC Armenian website are carried out under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID.
On March 1 the “Yerkri Demky” (“Face of the Country”) cycle of pre-election debates went on the evening air of “Yerkir Media” TV company. The cycle is produced by Yerevan Press Club under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID.
The guests of talk show host YPC President Boris Navasardian were Hovhannes Sahakian, RA National Assembly MP from Republican Party of Armenia faction, and Sargis Tamazian, representative of Armenian National Congress, Board Member of Armenian National Movement. The program participants particularly spoke about the possibility of further investigation of incidents in Yerevan in the aftermath of March 1, 2008, the draft law on legal regime of state of emergency, being considered at the parliament, the initiative of some political forces on holding the 2012 parliamentary elections exclusively on a proportional system, the deals in the ruling coalition, about the plans of “Heritage” and “Free Democrats” parties to run in a single electoral bloc.
The next “Face of the Country” will be aired on “Yerkir Media” on Wednesday, March 7 at 18.15 (rerun - on Monday, March 12 at 16.15).
Watch the “Face of the Country” of March 1, 2012 here
On February 24 the final program of “Press Club” cycle, dealing with journalism ethics, was aired on “Yerkir Media” TV company. The talk show series were produced by Yerevan Press Club under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID.
The talk show dealt with the ethics of media coverage of cultural issues, private lives of celebrities. The discussion on the theme was initiated by opera singer Karpis Manukian, who had called YPC, complaining about journalists’ reporting on cultural figures. Karpis Manukian was invited to “Press Club” as a discussant; his opponent was Sona Meloyan, cultural observer of “Golos Armenii” newspaper. The “Press Club” experts were theatre expert, journalist Nuneh Hakhverdian, Anna Sargsian, host of “Third Millennium” cycle of “Shoghakat” TV channel, Nuneh Aleksanian, correspondent of “First News” program of Public Television of Armenia First Channel, and film director Lusineh Gevorgian. President of Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression Ashot Melikian hosted the talk show.
Watch “Press Club” of February 24, 2012 here
In the evening of February 28 another talk show of “Press Club+” cycle went live on “Zangak” TV company of Martuni, Gegharquniq region. The guests considered the migration issues, their inclusiveness in online media and parties’ platforms. The “Press Club+” is produced by Yerevan Press Club in cooperation with regional TV companies under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID. Migration issues were also touched upon at the meeting with journalists, NGO and political party representatives, held on the same day in Martuni.
Watch “Press Club+” of February 28, 2012 here
On February 28 another program of “E-Club” weekly cycle went on the online broadcast of “A1+” TV company (www.a1plus.am). The “E-Club” is produced by Yerevan Press Club in cooperation with “A1+” TV under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID.
The program was devoted to online useful tips for life, video guides to get software and computer skills. The news bloc of “E-Club” told about the Google plans to launch Internet TV, about developing a water-proof smartphone by Panasonic. The ratings of online sources and headlines of last week were presented by journalist and writer Lusineh Vayachian. The web sources’ top list was headed by Facebook, while the most popular topics were the incidents in Armenian army and the protest actions to hinder cutting down of trees at the Mashtots Avenue park of Yerevan.
The next “E-Club” will be aired on “A1+” on Tuesday, March 6 at 15.50 (rerun - on Thursday, March 8 at 18.20).
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: firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.
On February 28 21 media and 3 journalistic organizations, including Yerevan Press Club, addressed a letter to RA General Prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepian requesting to release from arrest prominent journalist Tigran Hakobian. “Not going into details of accusation, we draw Your attention that Tigran Hakobian is one of the most reputable persons of Armenian journalism: he headed “Respublika Armenia” and “Hayk” newspapers, State Committee on Television and Radio, “Armenpress” news agency”, the letter emphasized. The signatories stressed that Tigran Hakobian has serious health problems and this raises concerns. Ensured that while being in freedom Tigran Hakobian will not hinder the investigation, heads of media and journalistic organizations urged the General Prosecutor to change the preventive measure of punishment by a written undertaking.
On March 1 Tigran Hakobian was released under a written undertaking upon the petition of RA Procuracy.Tweet
On February 27 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan revoked the suit of Hayk Babukhanian, Chairman of the Editorial Council of “Iravunk” newspaper, and “Iravunk” founder, “Iravunk Media” LLC, versus founder of Report.am news portal, “Khmbagir” LLC, and Report.am observer Edik Andreasian. The subject matter of the case was the September 1, 2010 piece of Report.am “The Right of ‘Iravunk’ on the Edge of Hayk Babukhanian’s Sword”. Plaintiffs demanded to refute the discrediting information, as contained in the piece, as well as exact from each respondent 3 million AMD (about $ 8,000) as moral damage compensation, caused by libel and insult. This suit was submitted to consideration on November 22, 2010; the hearings started on January 27, 2011.
The court justified the declination of the suit, particularly by the violation of Point 13 of Article 1087.1 of RA Civil Code (“Order and Conditions of Compensation of Damage to the Honor, Dignity or Business Reputation”) by the plaintiffs, setting the term of lodging a defamation suit for one month. Besides, the court bound the plaintiffs paying the state duty for filing the court of 236,000 AMD in proportion to financial claims.
It should be noted that the same court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan considers another suit by Hayk Babukhanian versus Report.am founder, and its observer Edik Andreasian. It disputes the article “When Forcing the Unpromptable” (stored on Report.am on March 25, 2011) and its’ readers comments. Along with a refutation on the information discrediting honor, dignity and business reputation, Hayk Babukhanian also demands to compensate the moral damage of 1 million AMD (more than $ 2,500) and the court expenses. Together with the suit - submitted to consideration on April 22, 2011 - a petition was secured that requested to prohibit the respondent diffusing any information on the abovementioned dispute regarding the piece “The Right of ‘Iravunk’ on the Edge of Hayk Babukhanian’s Sword”. The hearings on the case started on June 15, 2011 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 10-16, 2011). The ruling will be released on March 12, 2012.
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Editor of YPC Newsletter - Elina POGHOSBEKIAN