YPC Weekly Newsletter

2012


“The Role of the EaP Civil Society Forum in Fostering Judiciary Reform and Monitoring of Democratization Processes”

“E-CLUB” CYCLE: BARCAMPS IN YEREVAN

On June 12 another program of “E-Club” weekly cycle went on the online broadcast of “A1+” TV company (www.a1plus.am). The “E-Club” is produced by Yerevan Press Club in cooperation with “A1+” TV under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID.

The program was devoted to the BarCamps, which are held for the fourth year in Yerevan (the last one took place on June 9-10, 2012) and present the new IT technologies, alternative media, etc. The news bloc of “E-Club” told about the Thanko Japanese company’s USB Vacuum Mouse, functioning also as a mini-vacuum cleaner, and about the launch of the new Facebook button “Send”. The ratings of online sources and headlines of last week were presented by blogger Vach Ghazarian, activist of Armenian BarCamps. The web sources’ top list was headed by Facebook, while the most popular topic was the lighting object that looked like a UFO and appeared in the air of Yerevan on June 7.

The next “E-Club” will be aired on “A1+” on Tuesday, June 19 at 15.50 (rerun – on Thursday, June 21 at 18.20).

ARMENIAN NGOs DISCUSSED DEMOCRATIZATION AND JUDICIARY REFORM PROCESSES

On June 8-10 a seminar “The Role of the EaP Civil Society Forum in Fostering Judiciary Reform and Monitoring of Democratization Processes” was held in Aghveran, Kotayk region. The event was organized by Yerevan Press Club with the support of Friedrich Ebert Foundation and was attended by representatives of media, human rights, journalistic and other NGOs of Armenia, as well as experts from Ukraine and Georgia.

Iryna Solonenko, Director of the European Program at the International Renaissance Foundation (Ukraine), presented the results of the European Integration Index for Eastern Partnership Countries in 2012. Yerevan Press Club is the Armenian coordinator of the study and provides expertise on some of its directions (the 2012 EaP Index is available in English at http://www.eap-index.eu/). YPC Expert Heriknaz Harutiunian told about the recommendations of the EaP Civil Society Forum on monitoring of democratization processes and their implementation during the administration of democratic reforms monitoring in Armenia (see http://www.ypc.am/media_research/ln/eng). The report of YPC President Boris Navasardian dealt with the perspectives for strengthening ties between EaP CSF and Armenian NGOs in the field of monitoring democratization processes. Nazi Janezashvili, Executive Director of “Article 42 of the Constitution” NGO (Georgia), spoke about the CSF participation in judiciary reforms in EaP countries. This issue, but from the Armenian civil society’s position, was discussed by Artur Sakunts, Head of Vanadzor Office of Helsinki Citizens Assembly. Perspectives for strengthening ties between EaP CSF and Armenian NGOs in the field of judiciary reforms were considered by Avetik Ishkhanian, Head of Armenian Helsinki Committee.

CONCLUSION OF INFORMATION DISPUTES COUNCIL ON SUIT OF HEAD OF “MINAS AVETISIAN” FOUNDATION VERSUS BOARD CHAIRMAN OF “ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS CLUB

On June 8 Information Disputes Council released another conclusion on a defamation lawsuit. The missions of the Council, established on May 1, 2011, list preparation and release of advisory expert conclusions on court litigations regarding libel and insult, protection of private life and freedom of information, as wll as providing consultations to the Armenian legislative and executive authorities, local self-government bodies and citizens (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 29 – May 5, 2011).

The Council’s conclusion regards the lawsuit of Arman Avetisian, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of “Minas Avetisian” Charitable Foundation, versus Levon Barseghian, Board Chairman of “Asparez” Journalists Club of Gyumri. The reason for the suit became the pieces “Struck the Family Capital”, “Arman Avetisian Is Lying for Unknown Reasons”, “Some Things Cannot Be Forgiven”, placed on “Asparez” website (www.asparez.am) on June 11-16, 2011. The articles dealt with the developments regarding the transfer from Gyumri to Yerevan of two frescoes by the famous Armenian painter Minas Avetisian (Arman Avetisian is one of his sons). The respective governmental decision was passed on April 28, 2011 and resulted in a wide public protest and numerous actions in Gyumri. On June 23, 2011 Arman Avetisian sent a letter to the Head of “Asparez” with a demand to publish a refutation or a reply. The letter was stored on the “Asparez” website on June 30, 2011. Besides, Levon Barseghian expressed his readiness to publish the refutation text that Arman Avetisian would provide him. Meanwhile, on August 4 the Head of “Minas Avetisian” Foundation addressed the court demanding to oblige Levon Barseghian to present apologies, publish a refutation and the court ruling, compensate the damage for libel and insult in the amount of 2 million AMD (about $ 5,500), as well as the court expenses of 200,000 AMD. The hearings on the case started on September 9, 2011 at court of general jurisdiction of Shirak region (see details in YPC Annual Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” for 2011 at http://www.ypc.am/about_freedom/ln/eng).

The Information Disputes Council reminded that according to Part 13 of Article 1087.1 of RA Civil Code (“Order and Conditions of Compensation of Damage to the Honor, Dignity or Business Reputation”), a claim shall be submitted to the court within 6 months from the moment of insult or defamation (in the given case from the moment of publication of the pieces – Ed. Note), but no later than within one month from the moment the person becomes aware of the insult or defamation. The letter of Arman Avetisian to Levon Barseghian was dated of June 23, 2011, while the suit was submitted on August 4, 2011. In other words, the one-month term defined by law for addressing the court was missed. Thus, the Information Disputes Council believes that the suit of Arman Avetisian, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of “Minas Avetisian” Charitable Foundation, should be revoked.

The full conclusion of the Information Disputes Council is available in Armenian at http://www.ypc.am/expert/ln/eng.

ACTIONS ON LAWSUITS OF LERNAPAT VILLAGE ELDER WITHDREW

On June 6 Vanadzor court of general jurisdiction of Lori region withdrew the action on the suit of Lernapat village Elder Vano Eghiazarian versus his co-villager Gevorg Melkonian. The case was closed since Vano Eghiazarian had recalled the lawsuit. The founder of “Aravot” daily, “Aravot Oratert” LLC, was involved in the case as a third party.

The founder of “Aravot” also appeared as a third party in two other lawsuits on the protection of honor, dignity and business reputation of Lernapat Elder versus his co-villagers Boris Ashrafian and Fahrad Voskanian (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, January 12-19, 2012 and YPC Annual Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” for 2011 at http://www.ypc.am/about_freedom/ln/eng).

In all the three lawsuits, Vano Eghiazarian contested the article “Who Slanders Whom?”, published in “Aravot” on August 19, 2011. The piece reported about the August 18 protest action held against the Elder by Lernapat villagers in Yerevan in front of the RA Government. The article cited critical expressions about the Elder, made by his co-villagers Gevorg Melkonian, Boris Ashrafian and Fahrad Voskanian.

On May 31 the court of general jurisdiction of Lori region revoked the suit of Vano Eghiazarian versus Boris Ashrafian.

As Karen Tumanian, the lawyer of the three respondents, informed YPC, the village Elder had recalled the suit versus Fahrad Voskanian, too.

It should be noted that earlier, on May 29 the same court did not secure the suit of Vano Eghiazarian versus Adrineh Torosian, Vanadzor correspondent of “Hetq” online media; meanwhile on April 27 the RA Court of Cassation rejected finally another defamation suit of Lernapat village Elder, where the founder of “Zhamanak” daily appeared as a third party (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, May 25-31, 2012).