“PRESS CLUB” CYCLE RESUMED ON THE AIR OF “YERKIR MEDIA”
Since January 19, 2010 the “Press Club” show was resumed on the air of “Yerkir Media” TV company. The cycle is produced under Yerevan Press Club project, supported by the Open Society Institute. On Tuesdays, the “Press Club” participants – representatives of state structures, political parties, NGOs and media – will be discussing the establishment of democratic institutions in Armenia.
On January 19, the guests of the program host, YPC President Boris Navasardian were Artsvik Minasian, Deputy of RA National Assembly from “Dashnaktsutiun” faction, Hovhannes Hovhannisian, Chairman of Liberal Party of Armenia, and politologist Yervand Bozoyan. The discussion centered on the role of the opposition in the implementation of democratic reforms in Armenia.
The next “Press Club” show will be aired on “Yerkir Media” on January 26, at 21.15.
EU-ARMENIA: THE PRESENT AND PERSPECTIVES
On December 27-29, 2009 the seminar “EU-Armenia: The Present and Perspectives” was held in Aghveran. The event was organized by Yerevan Press Club with the assistance of Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The seminar was attended by representatives of media, NGOs and journalistic associations.
The presentation of Viktor Yengibarian, President of the “European Movement in Armenia” NGO, dealt with the Eastern Partnership initiative as a new step in the EU-Armenia cooperation. In his speech, Gevorg Ter-Gabrielian, Country Director of Eurasia Partnership Foundation, addressed the role of civil society in the Euro integration process. Stepan Grigorian, Head of Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, presented the Euro integration in the frames of the political developments in the country. The participation of Armenia in the thematic platforms of Eastern Partnership was discussed by YPC President Boris Navasardian. Manana Aslamazian, Executive Director of Internews Europe, spoke about the role of European institutions in enhancing the freedom of speech. Anna Israelian, observer of “Aravot” daily, told about the European Neighbourhood Journalism Network project, administered by Thomson Foundation in cooperation with the European Journalism Centre, the International Federation of Journalists and a number of other professional organizations.
CHIEF EDITOR OF “HAYKAKAN ZHAMANAK” SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT
On January 19, 2010 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan released the judgment on the case of Nikol Pashinian, Chief Editor of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, charged with Part 1 of Article 225 (“Mass riots”) and Part 1 of Article 316 (“Violence against a representative of power“) of RA Criminal Code. As it has been reported, Nikol Pashinian was announced wanted within the criminal proceedings, instituted on the events of March 1, 2008 in Yerevan. On July 1, 2009 he voluntarily surrendered to RA Procuracy. The court hearings on this case started on October 20, 2009 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 16-22, 2009).
According to the judgment, the charges of Nikol Pashinian for violence against a representative of power (Article 316 of RA Criminal Code) were dismissed, but he was found guilty in mass riots (Article 225) and was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment.
Lusine Sahakian, the lawyer of Nikol Pashinian, announced about the intention of appealing the judgment to the higher court jurisdiction.
INCIDENTS WITH JOURNALISTS AT THE PRECINCT 10/19
On January 10, 2010, on the day of elections to the vacancy formed in the RA National Assembly, at the electoral district 10 of Yerevan cases of impeding journalistic activities were registered. At the precinct 10/19 an incident occurred between the representatives of one of the candidates for deputy and free lance journalist Gagik Shamshian, and Anush Martirosian, correspondent of Armenian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. According to Gagik Shamshian, some young men coarsely prohibited the journalists from shooting and interviewing. As Gagik Shamshian noted, after a verbal skirmish they were forced out from the polling station. At the same time Gagik Shamshian was given blows and the microphone of Anush Martirosian was broken. Later, on that day the same people forced Hayk Gevorgian, observer of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily, and Gohar Vezirian, correspondent of “Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun” newspaper, out of the polling station.
REPORT OF COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ON VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS OF JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA RELEASED
On January 19, 2010 at “Urbat” club of Yerevan the presentation of the annual report of Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression on violations of rights of journalists and media in Armenia, in 2009 was held. As the report states, 11 cases of assaults against journalists, 14 cases of exerting pressure on media and their representatives, and 13 cases of violation of right to receive and impart information took place in 2009. “Overall, in 2009 fewer violations of rights of journalists and media were registered than in 2008. Nevertheless, the situation in whole and the trends cannot but raise concern. As the statistics indicate (…), even during a relatively smooth year quite a high level of violations of rights of journalists and media was observed in the country”, the report notes. At the same time, by the intensity of attacks against the freedom of speech last year was divided in two stages: in the first half the same negative trends as in 2008 were detected, the second stage was the period of a relative lull.