ARMENIAN JOURNALISTS VISITED TURKEY
On May 3-7 a group of Armenian journalists visited Istanbul. The visit was organized under the joint annual program of Yerevan Press Club and the Association of Diplomatic Correspondents of Turkey, implemented since January 2002 with the assistance of Center for Global Peace of American University (Washington, DC). The project stipulates mutual visits of Armenian and Turkish journalists to learn about the lives of the two countries, meetings with political and public figures and the subsequent coverage in their media. As it has already been reported, the first meeting under the project was held in January this year in Yerevan (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, January 12-18, 2002).
On May 4 and 6 in Istanbul a round table meeting “Coverage of Relations between Armenia and Turkey by the Media of Two Countries” was held. At the meeting the journalists discussed the nature and the content of publications in the media of Armenia and Turkey on the bilateral relations. Having emphasized the importance for the dialogue between the media of the two countries, the representatives of the fourth state touched upon the numerous problems of the relations between Armenia and Turkey, the prospects of developing them in various spheres, as well as among the non-governmental organizations. During the visit the Armenian journalists met a group of Turkish businessmen, the representatives of the Armenian-language press of Turkey.
On their return to Yerevan on May 8 the participants of Istanbul meeting gave a press conference at the House of Journalist where they shared their impressions about the trip with colleagues.
THE DELEGATION OF the OSCE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY MET REPRESENTATIVES OF JOURNALISTIC ASSOCIATIONS AND MEDIA
On May 7, the members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation, during their official visit to Yerevan, met the representatives of a number of journalistic organizations of Armenia, including Yerevan Press Club, as well as the leaders of “Noyan Tapan” and “A1+”. The meeting was organized by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
The participants representing Armenia described the developments in the media sphere of the recent months. The subject of the main attention was the events around the draft law “On Mass Communication”, the conductance of broadcast licensing competitions, as a result of which “A1+” and “Noyan Tapan” TV companies were not licensed. Other facts that are alarming with regard to the violation of the freedom of speech and press were also discussed.
THE HEARINGS ON THE CASE OF THE “A1+” FOUNDER VERSUS “TELEVISION NETWORK OF ARMENIA” SCHEDULED FOR MAY 17
On May 6 the RA Commercial Court accepted for consideration the suit of the founder of “A1+” TV company, “Meltex” LLC, versus “Television Network of Armenia” SCJSC. The National Commission on Television and Radio was also summoned to the process as a co-respondent. The plaintiff demanded to annul the decision of “Television Network of Armenia” on the stoppage of “A1+” transmission, made basing on the letter from the National Commission. The demand of the plaintiff to restore the broadcasts of the TV company was substantiated by the argument that having switched “A1+” out of its air in the early morning of April 3 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 30 – April 5, 2002), “Television Network of Armenia” violated the existing agreement on the transmission of the programs of the TV company.
The hearings on the case are scheduled for May 17.
THE RA COURT OF CASSATION REVOKED THE DECISION, UNPRECEDENTED IN ITS ABSURDITY
On May 3 the Chamber for Civil and Commercial Cases of the RA Court of Cassation held the third session on the suit of HSBC-Armenia bank versus “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” newspapers (previously, at the sessions of April 5 and 19 the court gave the parties time to discuss the possibilities for reaching an agreement). As it has already been reported, “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” newspapers addressed the supreme judicial body of the country to challenge the decision of the RA Commercial Court of March 4, securing the suit of HSBC-Armenia bank and requiring the editions to refute the information disseminated on October 29, 2001 by “Noyan Tapan” news agency and published by them the next day (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 2-8, 2002). According to “Noyan Tapan” piece, Ruben Hakobian, the author of the non-licensed Armenian fonts “ArTarumian”, accused the bank of computer piracy and filed a suit against it (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 16-22, 2002, and February 9-15, 2002).
During the hearings of May 3, the agreement on dispute settlement was read out. The document was signed by HSBC-Armenia, “Golos Armenii” and “Yerkir” newspapers, as well as “Noyan Tapan” news agency, which participated in the process as a third entity on behalf of the respondents. According to the agreement, “Noyan Tapan” must disseminate, within three days, a refutation of the piece of October 29, 2001, to be published in the editions above.
The refutation by “Noyan Tapan” was placed in the closest issues of “Golos Armenii” (May 7, 2002) and “Yerkir” (May 10, 2002), and was accompanied by editorial comments. Thus, the comment of “Golos Armenii” noted that the newspaper from the very start offered HSBC-Armenia to direct its remarks to the author of the piece, “Noyan Tapan”, yet the bank, for unknown reason, preferred to start court litigation.
Hence, the parties to the conflict, fortunately, were able to reach a compromise. The Court of Cassation canceled the decision of the court of primary jurisdiction, which ran contrary not only to common sense, but also the existing legal and ethical norms. Nevertheless, this decision of the RA Commercial Court entered the history of Armenian jurisprudence as unprecedented in its absurdity.
JOURNALISTS AND DIPLOMATS MEET ON THE PITCH AGAIN
On May 6 at the Yerevan “Dinamo” sports hall the third international mini-football tournament for the Cup “Dialog of Civilizations”, patroned by the RA Prime Minister Andranik Margarian. The organizer of this annual event is the Foreign Correspondents Association of Armenia. Like before, the tournament is a benevolent event: the funds raised will be donated to help the handicapped children. The conductance of the tournament of 2002 was assisted to by the Football Federation of Armenia, “Eurofootball” association, the Iranian Embassy in Armenia and the Armenian Assistance Foundation.
The teams of the Embassies of Iran, Germany, the USA, of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Correspondents Association, the Armenian Assistance Foundation, “Expat” football club, “Armenia” hotel, the Armenian Development Agency and Yerevan Brandy Company will take part in the tournament.
In 2000 the “Dialog of Civilizations” Cup was won by the team of the Embassy of Russia, in 2001 – by that of the Embassy of Iran (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 23-29, 2001). The winner of this year will be known on May 30.