YPC Weekly Newsletter

2014

SEPTEMBER 15-21

FACEBOOK POST CAUSED LITIGATION

On September 15, the Information Disputes Council (IDC) issued opinion on the defamation lawsuit filed by Yenok Abrahamian, a doctor, against Ashot Meloyan. Respondent Ashot Meloyan addressed IDC with request to give an expert opinion on his Facebook post, which became a subject of legal proceedings.

On March 31, 2014, Ashot Meloyan posted on his Facebook page the following: “This is the face of the “doctor” whose wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment caused the death of my mother”. The status was disputed by Yenok Abrahamian in the court. One should note that back in 2007 Ashot Meloyan addressed the RA Prosecutor’s Office with an appeal to initiate criminal proceedings against Yenok Abrahamian. The investigation had lasted for years (till 2012) and was closed due to absence of corpus delicti.

In its opinion IDC emphasizes that Facebook post is a public statement and, therefore, can be subject to Article 1087.1 of the RA Civil Code (“Order and Conditions of Compensation of Damage to the Honor, Dignity or Business Reputation”).

Having analyzed the post of Ashot Meloyan, IDC identified the phrases which can be deemed defamatory.

In particular, the expression “a criminal case was initiated against him” and “two murderers found each other” require proof, otherwise they are considered defamatory.

The word “doctor” written in quotes is a value judgment, though it is extremely critical. However, it has factual basis and, therefore, is not an insult, IDC says.

As to the expressions “scoundrel” and “fascist”, then, according to IDC, the author has used  disproportionately negative words, and therefore they are found insulting.