YPC ANNUAL REPORT ON FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN ARMENIA IN 2011
Yerevan Press Club released its Annual Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” in 2011. The report chronologically presents with the most significant issues of the media sphere, ranging from legislative amendments, assessments, statements of local and international organizations to different forms of violence, court litigations regarding media and journalists. The main feature of 2011 was the drastic increase of lawsuits on libel and insult, claiming for high financial compensations.
“E-CLUB” CYCLE: INTERNET AND CHILDREN
On June 5 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 June 1 International Children’s Day. Particularly, “E-Club” presented to educational and entertainment online resources for children (www.mocak.am, etc.), parent’s guides on Internet safety and parents’ control softwares. The news bloc told about a book by UK artists Ben West and Felix Heyes, where words from the English dictionary represented by the first image displayed on Google, about the creation of the world’s super-light notebook by the Taiwanese Gigabyte company. The ratings of online sources and headlines of last week were presented by young blogger Mushegh Galstian. The web sources’ top list was headed by Google, while the most popular topic was the celebration of the Children’s Day in Yerevan.
The next “E-Club” will be aired on “A1+” on Tuesday, June 12 at 15.50 (rerun – on Thursday, June 14 at 18.20).
ROUND TABLE ON ARMENIAN TURKISH RELATIONS AND AWARD CEREMONY OF 2012 ENCOURAGEMENT PRIZE HELD IN YEREVAN
On June 4-5 the round table “The Role of Media at the Current Stage of Armenia-Turkey Relations: Dividing Societies or Bringing Them Together” was held in Yerevan. The event was organized by Yerevan Press Club and Eurasia Partnership Foundation under the project “Support to Armenia-Turkey Rapprochement”, supported by USAID, and was attended by representatives of media, NGOs from Armenia and Turkey.
The round table discussions focused on the present political context – the national elections cycle in Armenia, new trends in Turkish politics, and their implications for the bilateral relations. Issues of freedom of speech, the perspectives of improving the media coverage on Armenia-Turkey thematic were also tackled. The results of monitoring the coverage of Armenia-Turkey relations by Armenian and Turkish media, administered by Yerevan Press Club and Faculty of Communications at Izmir University of Economics, were introduced to the round table participants.
On June 4 the Annual Journalism Award Ceremony was held. The Award was established in end-2010 under the YPC and Eurasia Partnership Foundation project to encourage Armenian and Turkish journalists, who report on the neighboring country and Armenian-Turkish relations. The 2012 winners were nominated by the jury, listing: Gevorg Ter-Gabrielian, Country Director of Eurasia Partnership Foundation; Aram Abrahamian, Chief Editor of “Aravot” daily; Gayaneh Abrahamian, correspondent of “ArmeniaNow” online media and EurasiaNet.org; Sylvia Tiryaki, Deputy Director of Global Political Trends Center of Istanbul Culture University; Mustafa Karaalioglu, Editor of “Star” newspaper; Yavuz Baydar, columnist of “Zaman” newspaper; as well as the laureates of the 2011 Award – Eduard Mkhitarian, Film Director of “GALA” TV company of Gyumri, and Kadri Gursel, the Foreign Affairs Editor of “Milliyet” daily (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, May 13-19, 2011 and July 8-14, 2011).
The winners of 2012 Award are: from Armenia – Lilit Gasparian, special correspondent of “Yerkir Media” TV company in Istanbul, for the film “The Citadel of the Fortress” telling about the Armenian schools in Istanbul; from Turkey – Hilal Kaplan, columnist of “Yeni Safak” newspaper, for the articles “Our Glorious History and the Truth” and “Armenia – the Diaspora of Anatolia”.
SECOND COURT JURISDICTION UPHELD RULING ON SUIT OF “IRAVUNK” VERSUS REPORT.AM
On May 31 RA Civil Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the court of general jurisdiction on the suit of Hayk Babukhanian, Chairman of the Editorial Board of “Iravunk” newspaper and “Iravunk” founder, “Iravunk Media” LLC, versus founder of Report.am news portal, “Khmbagir” LLC, and the portal’s observer Edik Andreasian. As it has been reported, the subject matter of the case was the September 1, 2010 piece of Report.am “The Right of ‘Iravunk’ on the Edge of Hayk Babukhanian’s Sword”. The plaintiffs demanded to publish a refutation and exact from each respondent 3 million AMD (about $ 8,000) as moral damage compensation, caused by libel and insult. The suit was submitted to consideration on November 22, 2010. On February 27, 2012 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan revoked the suit, binding the plaintiffs to pay the state duty for filing the court of 236,000 AMD in proportion to financial claims (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 24 – March 1, 2012).
At the May 31 session the RA Civil Court of Appeal, in its turn, held the complaint unjustified and bound the plaintiffs to pay off the state duty for filing the Court of Appeal in the amount of 390,000 AMD (again proportional to financial claims).
On May 31 at the first session of the newly elected RA National Assembly, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsian signed an order on termination of functions of Vahram Baghdasarian, member of the Council of Public TV and Radio Company, due to his election as deputy (by the proportional electoral list of the Republican Party of Armenia). On February 20, 2009 Vahram Baghdasarian was appointed as member of Council of Public TV and Radio Company for a 6-year term (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, February 20-26, 2009). Thus, the PTRC Council has a vacant seat.
Nikol Pashinian, who was also elected as deputy (by the proportional electoral list of the Armenian National Congress), abdicated his responsibilities as the Chief Editor of “Haykakan Zhamanak” daily. From now on, Hayk Gevorgian, the former Managing Editor, heads the daily.
On June 4 Gohar Poghosian was appointed as the press secretary of the re-elected RA NA Speaker Hovik Abrahamian. Earlier, this position was still held by Gohar Poghosian, except for the pre-election months, when the parliament Speaker was Samvel Nikoyan.
EPRESS.AM RECEIVED UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD
On June 4 in Yerevan the Universal Human Rights Award Ceremony was held at the US Embassy. The event was organized by the US Embassy in Armenia, the OSCE Office in Yerevan, the EU Delegation to Armenia, the British Embassy in Armenia and “Counterpart International”. Remarks at the event were delivered by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who visited Armenia within her official tour to the region.
The award was conferred to 11 persons, including the Chief Editors of Epress.am news portal Sonya Apresova, Yuri Manvelian and Armen Melikbekian, who were marked for fair and balanced coverage and their commitment to human rights reporting.