YPC WEEKLY NEWSLETTER CHANGES FORMAT
This is the last 576th issue of Yerevan Press Club Weekly Newsletter in the current format. In fact, this issue stands out from all the others, published since December 2000, by this feature only.
The cessation the YPC Weekly Newsletter issuance in this format that has been used for 13 years is conditioned by the changes in the package of our organization’s information products.
From now on you can find news on the developments in the Armenian media on the YPC website and on the website of EaP Media Freedom Watch which YPC contributes to jointly with colleagues from five other Eastern Partnership countries.
YPC Weekly Newsletter Editor
MEDIA ETHICS OBSERVATORY CONSIDERED THE COMPLAINT OF AUDIO-VISUAL REPORTERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT AGAINST ATV
On January 25, the Media Ethics Observatory (MEO) considered the complaint of Arzuman Harutyunian, President of Audio-Visual Reporters Association, on “Affectionate Torture” program (from “Half-Open Windows” cycle), broadcast by ATV TV channel on December 9, 2013.
The program told the story of the creation and collapse of a family, also touching upon trafficking. The President of Audio-Visual Reporters Association believes that when covering this topic the authors of the program violated both legal and professional ethical norms: in particular, they publicized private information about the victims of trafficking. On December 19, Arzuman Harutyunian sent a letter to the administration of the TV channel with a thorough description of all the violations that had taken place in the program. A reply, dated January 14 and signed by ATV General Director Vahagn Khachatrian, noted that the TV company disagreed with the comments made by Association and was planning to broadcast “Affectionate Torture”-2.
On January 21, Arzuman Harutyunian turned to the Media Ethics Observatory. Regardless of the invitation, the representatives of ATV did not take part in the session. Considering the complaint, the members of the MEO came to the conclusion that the program contained violations of both ethical norms and international conventions on trafficking. (The MEO expert judgment will be published soon at https://www.ypc.am/self_regul/ln/en.)
A JOURNALISTIC TRICK TAKES A REPORTER TO NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE
On January 30, the RA National Security Service (NSS) sent out a press release, explaining the reasons of inviting Avetis Babajanian, “168 Zham” newspaper reporter, to the NSS.
In its January 28-29, 2014 issue, “168 Zham” published an article by Avetis Babajanian “Chechens Plan a Terroristic Act in Armenia”, starting out with the following lines: “Our sources, standing close to authorities, inform that terroristic acts may target Russian objects in Armenia during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.”
The press release presents the written clarification, provided by Avetis Babajanian to the security agency, of his expression “our sources, standing close to authorities, inform that (…)”. “I used this word combination as a journalistic trick in order to make the story sound more intriguing. With full responsibility do I note that no source has ever provided me with any information on the topic presented in the article”, Avetis Babajanian explained.
Further the NSS press release states: “This explanation makes it clear that Babajanian’s “article” is a forgery; moreover, it is the result of lack of serious journalistic approach and basic accountability. It is simply an unconscious composition of ungrounded suppositions. The journalist did not bother to think of those who would read his ominous thoughts. By the way, the editor of the newspaper did not bother either.”
CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST ARMENIA TODAY’S COORDINATOR SENT TO COURT
According to ARMENIA Today agency, the RA Special Investigative Service sent the criminal case against
ARMENIA Today coordinator Argishti Kivirian to court. The action was initiated in connection with the August 24, 2013 incident between the journalist and police officers. Argishti Kivirian has been charged by Article 316 of the RA Criminal Code (“Violence against a representative of the authorities”).
As we have reported, Argishti Kivirian was detained on August 24, 2013, during the public protests against the construction of a residential building in the vicinity of 5 Komitas Avenue in Yerevan. According to the journalist, the law-enforcers beat him in the police car, he was summoned to the Yerevan Arabkir Police Department with injuries and bruises on his face, from where the ambulance transferred him to “Erebuni” medical center. On August 25, the police instituted criminal proceedings against him on charges of Article 316 of the Criminal Code. In his turn, Argishti Kivirian addressed the police with a statement about the use of force during his detention. All materials related to the incident were sent to the Special Investigative Service that initially accused the journalist by Article 316 as well as Article 333 (“False denunciation”) of the Criminal Code. Later the investigative body acquitted him of the false denunciation charge and offered to grant the journalist an amnesty. However, Argishti Kivirian refused the amnesty and demanded that all the offenders involved in illegal actions against him should be called to account (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, January 17-23, 2014).
ANOTHER STUDY OF THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ABOUT INFORMATION TRANSPARENCY OF STATE AGENCIES
On January 30, the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE) published the results of its “Access to Official Information and Open Governance” study. The monitoring of the RA state agency websites has been implemented for three years, aiming to identify the level of information transparency of these bodies. At a meeting with journalists the CPFE presented the data for 2013. This study is published as a separate booklet (in Armenian, English and Russian) and has also been posted at http://khosq.am/.