Judgments/Decisions 2008

MEO Expert Judgment of October 31, 2008 on the article of “Aravot” daily disputed in court

Background of the Issue: Ruzan Minasian, correspondent of “Aravot” daily, applied to MEO to receive an expert judgment on the article which became subject of the lawsuit of Arthur Ghevondian, RA police officer, versus “Aravot” daily. The plaintiff demanded to induce the newspaper to publish a refutation of the information in the article “If Your Neighbor is a Policeman” (“Aravot”, June 25, 2008) by Ruzan Minasian, which discredited his honor and reputation.

Ruzan Minasian presented MEO expert judgment at the court session of November 14. Artur Ghevondian announced that if “Aravot” published the assessment, he would revoke the lawsuit. On November 15, the daily published the text of the judgment. On November 18 the court secured the petition of Artur Ghevondian about revoking the suit. On November 26 the decision of Civil Court of Yerevan was announced to revoke the suit of Arthur Ghevondian versus “Aravot” daily and to terminate the court proceedings.

Thus, a precedent had appeared in Armenia. For the first time, upon the request of a party, the self-regulation body made an assessment on the litigation subject, and the opponent party, being satisfied with the content and publicizing of the document, revoked the suit.

MEO Decision of the complaint of “A1+” versus “Zhamanaki Mitq” newspaper

Background of the Issue: The complaint regarding the copyrights violation of “A1+” website was brought by Mesrop Movsesian, President of “Meltex” LLC, founder of “A1+” TV company, versus “Zhamanaki Mitq” newspaper.

MEO resolved to not consider the complaint, as “Zhamanaki Mitq” is not a member of the media self-regulation initiative. MEO addressed a letter to Simon Sargsian, Chief Editor of the newspaper, offering its mediation in the case. The dispute between “Zhamanaki Mitq” and “A1+” was settled. Besides, the Chief Editor of the newspaper announced that “Zhamanaki Mitq” joins the self-regulation initiative and is ready to sign the Code of Conduct of Media Representatives.

MEO Decision of October 31, 2008 on the complaint of journalist Sara Petrosian versus “Pakagits” newspaper

Background of the Issue: Sara Petrosian, member of the Board of “Investigative Journalists” NGO, submitted a complaint to Media Ethics Observatory on “Pakagits” newspaper, regarding the violation of her copyrights.

MEO resolved to not consider the complaint, as “Pakagits” newspaper is not a member of the media self-regulation initiative. At the same time, on November 27, 2008 MEO addressed a letter to the newspaper, offering its mediation in the case. On December 4, 2008 “Pakagits” published the relevant correction.

MEO Decision on the complaint of “GALA” TV versus “Tsayg” TV

Background of the Issue: On February 4, 2008 Karineh Danielian, Executive Director of “GALA” TV company of Gyumri, addressed MEO with a complaint versus “Tsayg” TV company of Gyumri. On January 31, 2008 the latter had referred to “GALA” TV company in a negative context in its newscast “Azdarar”.

The complaint was considered at MEO sessions of February 15 and April 3, 2008. MEO resolved to refrain from rendering a decision, as the complaint of “GALA” TV company was not subject to regulation by the Code of Conduct of Media Representatives. MEO addressed a circular letter to all the media, who had signed the Code of Conduct. The letter did not contain a requirement of its publishing.

MEO Decision on the conflict  between “Armenia” TV and “Aravot” daily

Background of the Issue:On January 11, 2008 “Aravot” daily published  the article “Has the ‘Alliance’ of the Gafesjians and the Sargsians Failed?”. The piece told about the controversy between the co-owners of “Armenia” TV company, the Sargsians family, and the American multi-millionaire of Armenian descent Gerard Gafesjian, about the rumors of a sale of share of the TV company, the alleged problems of salary allocations and payments, as well as projects implemented. On January 12 on the air of “Armenia” the co-owner of the TV company Bagrat Sargsian refuted the information, published by “Aravot”, announcing he would sue the daily.

On January 15 MEO urged “Armenia” TV and “Aravot” to solve the conflict out of court. Expressing its concern with the incident between the two media and noting that taking the problem to court might seriously harm the reputation of the media, MEO appealed on “Armenia” TV to solve the issue through negotiations and on “Aravot” daily – to be ready to engage in them.

As a result, a written agreement was reached between “Aravot” and “Armenia” on publishing a refutation. It was published in “Aravot” issue of January 19, headlined “In reality ‘Armenia’ Flourishes”. The piece stated that the information about “Armenia” TV company, presented in the daily on January 11, was untrue.