On March 25, the Freedom of Speech Day was celebrated in Gyumri. The event was organized by “Asparez” Journalists Club of Gyumri and was marked in the second Armenian biggest town for already the fifth year. The Freedom of Speech Day was found in 2009 by “Asparez” to mark the settlement of the situation with “GALA” TV company of Gyumri: the payment of tax liability by founder of “GALA”, “CHAP” LLC, which almost put the TV company on the verge of closing down. The funds for repaying the debt were donated by individuals and organizations, both Armenian and international (for details see Yerevan Press Club Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” in 2009).
On the occasion of the Freedom of Speech Day, “Asparez” granted memorable gifts to: journalist Zaruhi Mejlumian – for reporting about human rights, particularly about life-term prisoners’ problems; expert of cultural-historical monuments Samvel Karapetian – for his active civic engagement and publicity; PanARMENIAN Photo – for operative and quality photojournalism; correspondent of “Hetq” online Grisha Balasanian – for investigative journalism, particularly for the cycle on the income declarations of some Armenian officials; Lena Nazarian – for civic activism and participation in numerous civil initiatives. Besides, the relief organization Armenian Caritas gave a special prize to “Shirak Center” NGO and its website www.shirakcentre.org – for reporting on the social thematic. The Armenian Catholic Church marked the journalist Sara Khojoyan with a special award for covering religious issues.