“PRESS CLUB+” ON AIR OF “LORI” TV OF VANADZOR
In the evening of July 7 the season’s last talk show of “Press Club+” cycle went on “Lori” TV company of Vanadzor. The program participants were representatives of political parties, NGOs, as well as intellectuals and journalists. The topic of discussion was the role of new media in the recent May, 2012 elections to RA National Assembly. The “Press Club+” was produced by Yerevan Press Club in cooperation with regional TV companies under “Alternative Resources in Media” project, supported by USAID.
Watch “Press Club+” of July 7, 2012 here
ARMENIAN NGO DISCUSSED ISSUES OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND CORRUPTION
On July 6-8 the seminar “The Role of the EaP Civil Society Forum in Implementing Reforms in the Fields of Public Administration and Fight against Corruption” was held in Vanadzor, Lori 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 an expert from Ukraine.
Ivan Presnyakov, Coordinator of Fight against Corruption Subgroup of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum’s First Working Group, presented the implementation process of EaP CSF recommendations in the field of fighting corruption. The Armenian civil society’s view on this issue was reflected in the speech of Varouzhan Hoktanian, Executive Director of Transparency International Anti-corruption Center. The report of Armineh Tukhikian, Co-Chairwoman of Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development, was dealing with realization of EaP programs in Armenia towards the democratization of local self-government bodies. Davit Dolmajian, Delegate of Local Democracy Agency in Armenia, told about the goals and initiatives of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA). Mikayel Hovhannisian, Coordinator of Europe Program at Eurasia Partnership Foundation, introduced to the projects administered by EPF for fighting corruption. YPC President Boris Navasardian spoke about the perspectives of strengthening ties between EaP CSF and Armenian NGOs.
REPRESENTATIVES OF CIVIL SOCIETY OF ARMENIA URGE MEDIA OF THE COUNTRY FOR A MORE INTENSE COVERAGE OF PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN MOUNTAINOUS KARABAGH
On July 9 a number of NGOs, journalists and experts of Armenia released a statement regarding the upcoming July 19, 2012 presidential elections in Mountainous Karabagh. The statement highlights the role of free and transparent elections for future development of a country striving for international recognition, the importance of holding the electoral campaign in an atmosphere of constructive political debate and boosting the interest for the electoral battle. To ensure all this, the inclusiveness of civil society and media of Armenia is thereof emphasized – taking into account the linkage of processes, unfolding in Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh. The statement signatories called upon the Armenian media “to guarantee the consistent, involved and professional coverage of the electoral campaign of the presidential elections in Mountainous Karabagh – at least in its final stage”.
SUIT OF HEAD OF “MINAS AVETISIAN” FOUNDATION VERSUS BOARD CHAIRMAN OF “ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS CLUB REVOKED
On July 11 Gyumri court of general jurisdiction of Shirak region revoked the suit 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. As it has been reported, 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 protest, numerous actions in Gyumri. On June 23, 2011 Arman Avetisian sent a letter to the Head of “Asparez”, demanding to publish a refutation or a reply. The letter was stored on the “Asparez” website on June 30, 2011. Moreover, Levon Barseghian expressed his readiness to publish the refutation, whenever it was presented by Arman Avetisian. 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. Hearings on the case started on September 9, 2011 (see YPC Annual Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” for 2011 at https://www.ypc.am/about_freedom/ln/eng).
According to the July 11, 2012 court ruling, the suit was revoked since Arman Avetisian had missed the one-month term defined by law for addressing the court. It should be noted 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. This was also stressed in the June 8, 2012 expert conclusion of Information Disputes Council regarding this lawsuit (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, June 8-14, 2012).
“JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES” AND PTA FIRST CHANNEL REACH AN AMICABLE AGREEMENT
On July 10 court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts of Yerevan approved the amicable agreement between the members of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” religious organization and the employees of Public Television of Armenia, Gevorg Altunian, Sona Torosian, Nuneh Aleksanian and Edgar Davtian. On December 9, 2010 seven members of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” contested at court the information, which was aired on November 9, 10 and 11, 2010 in the programs of PTA First Channel, “Haylur” and “Tesankyun”. The pieces informed that A.T., inhabitant of Sevan, being accused for murdering his parents, is a member of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. The plaintiffs demanded to refute the untrue information, discrediting their honor and dignity, and the business reputation of the religious organization, as well as made financial claims. The court hearings on the case started on April 13, 2011 (see YPC Annual Report “On Freedom of Speech in Armenia” for 2011 at https://www.ypc.am/about_freedom/ln/eng).
According to the amicable agreement, concluded between the parties, the plaintiffs refrain from their claims upon the condition that the respondent publishes a refutation. On June 5, 2012 PTA First Channel aired twice the information saying that the abovementioned accused A.T. is not a member of “Jehovah’s Witnesses”. The text of refutation was also stored on the TV company’s website.
VARDAN GRIGORIAN PASSED AWAY
On July 9 in Yerevan at the age of 58 Vardan Grigorian, prominent journalist, Candidate of Philological Sciences, passed away. In 1989-1997 Vardan Grigorian was the Chief Editor of “Epokha” weekly, in 1998-2000 – political observer of “Golos Armenii” newspaper. In the last years Vardan Grigorian was engaged in scholarly activities; since 2009 he was the Deputy Director of Armenian Studies Institute at Yerevan State University.
Yerevan Press Club expresses its condolences to the relatives and friends of Vardan Grigorian.