YPC Weekly Newsletter
2007
July 13-19
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB CELEBRATES ITS 12TH ANNIVERSARY AND GIVES ANNUAL AWARD

On July 18 Yerevan Press Club marked its 12th anniversary. On the same day, at the Journalists Union of Armenia Yerevan Press Club Annual Award Ceremony was held. The Award was established and is conferred since 1998 to the best journalists and media organizations of Armenia (see http://www.ypc.am “Awards” section).

YPC Annual Award winners in 2006-2007 are:

Aydin Morikian, author and compiler of “Journalism: What, How and Why?” professional Armenian language publications - for creating manuals on journalism. Aydin Morikian was also granted a special award of the Russian Service of “Deutsche Welle” radio station.

Gevorg Altunian, author and presenter of “Express” news analytical TV program - for the political, discussion programs on the air of “TV 5”.

Hakob Badalian, correspondent of Lragir.am online publication - for up-to-date coverage of internal political problems.

“PRESS CLUB” CYCLE: THE NEWLY ELECTED PARLIAMENT AND BALANCE OF FORCES BEFORE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

On July 18 the last talk show of “Press Club” cycle for the season went on the evening air of “Yerkir-Media” TV company. The program host was President of Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardian. The guest of “Press Club” was leader of the Christian Democratic Union of Armenia Khosrov Harutiunian, faced by experts, Chairman of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression Ashot Melikyan, and observer of “Golos Armenii” newspaper Marina Mkrtchian. The discussion subject was the first steps of the newly elected parliament and the balance of forces before the presidential elections in Armenia.

It is planned that the “Press Club” cycle will be resumed on “Yerkir- Media” air in September.

The “Press Club” cycle is produced under a project of Media Diversity Institute, with the support of the United Nations Development Program, Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia and the British Council Armenia.

THE COURT OF APPEAL CUTS GAGIK SHAMSHIAN’S SUSPENDED SENTENCE TO ONE YEAR OF IMPRISONMENT

On July 16 the RA Court of Appeal heard the case of a free-lance photojournalist Gagik Shamshian, who challenged the ruling of the court of primary jurisdiction of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities of Yerevan. On June 6, 2007 the court gave Shamshian a suspended sentence for 2.5 years of imprisonment. The court sentence was made by Part 2 of Article 178 (“Cheating”) and by Part 1 of Article 179 (“Appropriation or Embezzlement”) of RA Criminal Code. The plaintiff demanded to annul the ruling and to acquit him fully. On its behalf, the Prosecutor’s Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities also challenged the sentence of the court of primary jurisdiction, demanding to make the punishment more severe and to sentence Gagik Shamshian to 4 years of imprisonment.

As it has been reported, the criminal proceedings on the case of Gagik Shamshian were instituted on August 3, 2006 by the Erebuni Investigative Department of the Chief Investigative Division of the RA Police, basing on a number of appeals from citizens. On his behalf, the journalist did not plead guilty on any of the five episodes, qualifying what has happened as a persecution for his professional activities, waged by the Head of Nubarashen community of Yerevan Mher Hovhannisian and his associates. The conflict with them started due to the article, published in “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” newspaper on July 11, 2006 (the publication told, in particular, about two relatives of Nubarashen community Head, charged with robbery at one of Yerevan banks). The next day Shamshian was assaulted. The Prosecutor's Office of Erebuni and Nubarashen communities instituted criminal proceedings by Article 164 (“Impeding the legitimate professional activities of a journalist”), Part 1 of Article 176 (“Robbery”) and Part 3 of Article 258 (“Public Disorder”) of the RA Criminal Code. However, on November 10, 2006 the investigation of the case was stopped due to the lack of “sufficient evidence proving corpus delicti in the actions of the suspects”. Thus, Gagik Shamshian became a participant of two criminal cases at the same time: on the case, where he was a victim, nobody was punished; on the other case, the journalist became the convict (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 1-7, 2007).

At the session of July 16 the Court of Appeal secured the claim of the journalist partially, only reducing the suspended sentence to one year. As Gagik Shamshian told YPC, he intends challenging this ruling at RA Court of Cassation.


N.B. Dear readers, please note that YPC Weekly Newsletter will next be issued in early September, 2007.

When reprinting or using the information above, reference to the Yerevan Press Club is required.

You are welcome to send any comment and feedback about the Newsletter to: pressclub@ypc.am

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Editor of YPC Newsletter - Elina POGHOSBEKIAN

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