MEDIA AND NGOs DISCUSS THE HONORING OF THE COMMITMENTS TO THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE BY ARMENIA
On April 4-6 in Tsaghkadzor a seminar titled “Honoring of Commitments to the Council of Europe by Armenia”. The seminar was organized by Yerevan Press Club with the support of Friedrich Ebert Foundation. Assistance to its conductance was provided by the Helsinki Committee of Armenia. The event brought together representatives of Armenian media and NGOs, the international organizations active in the country. The Special Representative of the Council of Europe Secretary General in Armenia Natalia Voutova made a detailed presentation of the commitments to the CE assumed by our country, and the RA Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Armen Martirosian told about their implementation. Other presentations made at the seminar were devoted to this topical issue – in particular, the law on ombudsman passed recently by the Parliament in the first hearing, the draft law “On Mass Communication” and the changes in the RA Criminal Code related to the abolishment of capital punishment, currently at the consideration of the RA NA. The honoring of other commitments, those of freedom of conscience and alternative military service introduction, were also discussed.
THE DRAFT “ON MASS COMMUNICATION” FAILED TO WIN VOTES. JOURNALISTIC PROTEST CONTINUES
On April 11 at an extraordinary session of the RA National Assembly voting on the draft RA Law “On Mass Communication” was held. As it has been reported, this document, having caused much discontent of the “fourth estate” since the very first days of its existence, was submitted to the consideration of the Parliament on March 26. Yet the draft was not voted due to lack of quorum. This time the document was not passed in the first hearing since it did not get the sufficient quantity of votes.
The National Press Club and a number of media continued the protest actions, that started since the introduction of the draft into the Parliament’s agenda. Pickets at the NA houses were held, and posters with an appeal “No to Censorship! Remove the Draft Law ‘On Mass Communication’ from Circulation!” were raised.
The position of Yerevan Press Club also remains unchanged: the tense political situation and the serious objections made by the journalistic community on some of the provisions of the draft “On Mass Communication” give sufficient ground for not adopting the document presently (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 22 – April 4, 2003).
“ARDSHINBANK” AND “ARAVOT” DAILY PARTED IN PEACE
On April 10 at the session of RA Commercial Court the agreement on the reconciliation between “Ardshinbank” and “Aravot” daily was read out. As it has been reported, “Ardshinbank” judicially demanded to oblige “Aravot” to pay monetary compensation for the damage caused by a number of articles published in the daily. “Aravot”, on its behalf, filed a counter-claim (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 22 – April 4, 2003 and March 8-14, 2003). According to the reconciliation agreement signed, the parties from now on have no claims to each other.