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Yerevan -- Presentation of “Impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic on the Labour Rights Situation in Armenia” , 17Feb2022

The EU-funded projects on labour rights revealed a number of problems related to the labour rights situation in Armenia

More than 60 attendees – representatives of the RA Government, international community, civil society organizations learnt about the results of the studies on situation of labour rights protection in Armenia, real cases of labour rights violations, the impact of COVID-19 on labour rights in Armenia, the needs related to the labour rights in Armenia, and best practices of establishment of Trade Unions in European Union during an online event. The five studies were carried out by the member CSOs of the consortia of three projects funded by the European Union.

“In its permanent dialogue with the authorities and civil society, the EU stands by Armenia to improve and respect the labour rights. Labour law should not be seen as an obstacle to entrepreneurial freedom, but rather as a tool to facilitate social dialogue,” H.E. Ms. Andrea Wiktorin Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia said in her welcome speech. The event was attended by Ruben Sargsyan, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Armenia, and Hakob Avagyan, Head of Health and Labor Inspection Body of Armenia who also welcomed the participants.

The studies revealed a number of problems related to the labour rights situation in Armenia. In particular, as a common conclusion, three of the studies – the “Research on the Situation of Labour Rights Protection in Armenia” (the full Report) the “Comprehensive Needs Assessment Research” and the “Evidence Collection on the Real Cases of Labour Rights Violations and Court Cases” indicated the problem of lack of awareness of the employees on their labour rights. All three researches include recommendations to act towards raising public awareness regarding benefits and entitlements upon separation, safeguards against arbitrary dismissal as well as available remedies in place, especially in marzes, for those employed in private business as well as among women to empower them to stand for their rights.

Other finding of the studies indicate that:

  • 16․7% of the respondents do not have an employment contract;
  • 6.8% of the respondents mentioned the existence of a high level of exposure to hazard factors in their workplace, and 79.2% of the respondents do not get any compensation if hazard factors exist in their workplace;
  • Only 15.2% of those who have ever expressed their dissatisfaction regarding working conditions to their employer, immediate supervisor or superior body had the relevant issue resolved as a result of expressing dissatisfaction, 45.8% had the issue partly resolved, while 35.6% did not reach any solution;
  • Only 28.3% of the respondents had trade unions in their workplace. The majority of the respondents (85.7%) mentioned that they had never united with colleagues against the employer in order to solve an issue or protect their labour rights;
  • Young people have difficulty in finding a suitable job due to lack of work experience, or they find a job with a very low salary. For 26% of the respondents, young age played a negative role in finding a job, and for about 50% of them, the absence or lack of work experience prevented them from finding the job they wanted;
  • Some women face obstacles while looking for a job or a change/promotion. For 22.7% of female respondents, being female played a decisive role when looking for a job or during a working activity, and for 52% of the latter, that role was negative.
  • The majority of organizations operating in both the public and private sectors in the Republic of Armenia do not yet have the necessary opportunities for the movement of the disabled, which is a big obstacle to hiring such people. Many employers simply avoid hiring people with disabilities, worrying that their health may often lead to absenteeism;
  • In Armenia people have very little information about labour protection and control structures. More than half of the respondents, 54%, do not know where to go in case of violation of labour rights;
  • The overwhelming majority of court cases related to labour rights were brought against the state- and municipality-owned organizations, such as schools, medical centers, universities, as well as ministries and municipalities as such. According to the data challenging the dismissals remain low in the private sector.

The results of the Impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic on the Labour Rights Situation in Armenia” and Best Practices of Establishment of Trade Unions in the EU” studies were also presented during the event.

The CSOs forming the three consortia implementing the projects aimed to improve labour rights situation in Armenia came up with a decision to continue coordinated efforts in the sphere.

The full recording of the event is available HERE. All the studies will be published and shared with the stakeholders after finalization.

***

The three EU-funded projects on labour rights and social protection in Armenia

“Labour Action: Collaborative Effort for Accountable and Inclusive Employment’’ project is implemented by Union of Employers of ICT, Armavir Development Center and Kiraki Development Foundation.

“Decent work now!” project is implemented by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor, Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, Advanced Public Research Group, Factor Information Center NGO in cooperation with Education and Solidarity Union.

“EU4LabourRights: Increasing Civic Voice and Action for Labour Rights and Social Protection in Armenia” project is implemented by OxYGen Foundation, Socioscope NGO, “Asparez” Journalists’ Club NGO, Armenian Progressive Youth NGO, Media Diversity Institute – Armenia in cooperation with Protection of Rights without Borders NGO, and Eurasia Partnership Foundation.

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Ani Nahapetyan

Statement on the detention of journalist Ani Nahapetyan while carrying out her journalistic duties

February 24, 2022, Yerevan

On February 22, 2022 together with the citizens protesting in the Republic Square of the capital against the visit of Azerbaijani MPs to Yerevan, the police also detained Ani Nahapetyan, correspondent of “Yerkir Media” TV Company. The latter was performing her professional duty and showed her press card when the incident happened. Later, at the police station, the law-enforcers took Ani Nahapetyan’s phone and deleted the footage she had taken inside the building. Along with other citizens, a criminal case was also initiated against the journalist under Article 258 (hooliganism) Part 1 of the RA Criminal Code. According to law enforcement, Ani Nahapetyan shouted profanities at the authorities, which, however, the journalist denied and, in her turn, reported a crime.

Although the police issued a clarification on the incident, claiming that “no one introduced him/herself as a media representative and did not show a relevant document”, we consider that argument groundless and unconvincing, as there is irrefutable evidence that both when being detained and at the police department she informed that she was a journalist. Nevertheless, she was released only after being held in the department for more than four hours.

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the improper actions taken against the journalist, including the illegal detention and obstruction of professional activities.

In this regard, we demand from the RA Police:

– to immediately quash the criminal case against Ani Nahapetyan;

– to carry out an official investigation, and hold accountable the police officers who abused their power;

– to take measures to prevent such attitude and actions towards journalists in the future.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB “ASPAREZ”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB
“FEMIDA” NGO

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MP Vahagn Aleksanyan

Media community demands an excuse from the ruling party’s MP for calling journalists “verbal prostitutes”

21 January, 2022, Yerevan

At the January 20, 2022 regular session of the RA National Assembly, Vahagn Aleksanyan, deputy from “Civil Contract” faction, referring to the activities of journalists of the TV companies and online platforms associated with political forces or politicians, called them “verbal prostitutes”. In fact, accusing them of spreading insult and hatred, the deputy himself used such words, moreover, he repeated them several times in his speech, further reaffirming these words at the January 21 session.

We, the undersigned journalistic organizations, strongly condemn this behavior and rhetoric of the representative of the ruling force, which apart from being unbefitting to the deputy status and related ethical norms, also create distrust in a politician who is called to develop laws, among other things aimed at countering insults and hatred and setting liability for their dissemination.

While being strictly critical of the current state of Armenian television, we state that in the last three years the government failed to realize its intention of “purging” it. Neither the legislative changes nor the legal practice were used for the reforms in the field. Instead, various representatives of the ruling force do not miss the opportunity to swagger and throw insults at private TV companies. Although the latter indeed mostly serve different political interests, this does not mean that instead of regulating the field, the authorities should insult the representatives of broadcast media.

We note that so far no member of “Civil Contract” party has criticized or at least expressed disagreement and regret about the irresponsible expression of their fellow party member. And this is another alarming precedent, which may deepen the existing polarization, intolerance and foul language use in the society.

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned, we demand:

  • the National Assembly to take immediate steps to form an ad hoc ethics committee, to discuss the behavior of deputy Vahagn Aleksanyan and adopt an appropriate decision;
  • “Civil Contract” party to publicly express a position and give an assessment of Vahagn Aleksanyan’s insult against journalists. The lack of assessment will be seen as a tacit approval and encouragement of such rhetoric by that political force;
  • Vahagn Aleksanyan to apologize to the journalistic community for the indecent and offensive remark and give assurances that it will not happen again in the future.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB “ASPAREZ”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB
“FEMIDA” NGO

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Armenia -- Journalist Tatul Hakobyan, Yerevan,

Statement on the reprisal and death threats against journalist Tatul Hakobyan

On December 8, 2021 journalist Tatul Hakobyan, while on a business trip in the United States, reported to have received reprisal and even death threats. In journalist’s opinion, the campaign is directed from Armenia and some Armenian circles in the United States, and the reason for these threats is his one recent thought expressed publicly, namely “Armenia is where the Armenian soldier stands.”

The journalist drew the particular attention of law enforcement agencies, journalistic organizations, the RA Human Rights Defender, the US Embassy in Armenia to the fact. He promised to provide names and facts about the campaign against him upon his return to Armenia. At the moment the journalist is under the US police protection.

What happened is yet another proof that the culture of civilized debate has not been shaped both within the political circles and the Armenian society, and the extremely sharp intolerance towards dissent tends to deepen following the 44-day Artsakh war.

Whether one likes Tatul Hakobyan’s thoughts and analyses or not, he is one of the best representatives of Armenian journalism, who has studied the Artsakh issue in depth and has courageously covered it, including from the frontlines of hostilities. As a journalist, analyst and citizen, he has the right to freely express his opinion, and threats and calls for killing for that against him or any person in general are criminal acts.

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the unacceptable campaign against Tatul Hakobyan and express our support to our colleague.

With regards to the incident, we demand: ․

  • the RA Prosecutor’s Office to take immediate measures to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of the threats campaign and their instructors, especially since the journalist is ready to provide specific names;
  • the RA Police to ensure Tatul Hakobyan’s security upon his return to

We call on the journalistic community to show solidarity and support to Tatul Hakobyan to resist the condemnable actions against him.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB “ASPAREZ”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB
“FEMIDA” NGO

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Armenia -- Constitutional Court in Yerevan, 12Oct2021

Statement on Constitutional Court’s decision re the Amendments to the RA Civil Code

On October 5, 2021 the RA Constitutional Court made a decision, according to which the Law “On Amendments to the RA Civil Code” adopted by the parliament on March 24, 2021 was recognized in line with the Constitution. Thus, the upper threshold of damages award envisaged for insult will increase from previous 1 million to 3 million drams, and in case of defamation, it will become 6 million drams instead of 2 million.

Let us recall that the law was authored by the current NA Speaker Alen Simonyan when he was still the NA Deputy Speaker. During its circulation as a draft, it was rightly criticized not only by the undersigned organizations, but also by the wider journalistic community and international organizations (Freedom House, Reporters Without Borders, etc.). In particular, we have made a number of statements on the matter, and in the last one issued on the day the law was adopted, we urged the RA President not to sign the law and to forward it to the Constitutional Court to verify its compliance with the Constitution. And so he did.

However, the decision of the Constitutional Court causes not only disappointment and bewilderment, but also resentment. It does not take into consideration the recommendations of the Council of Europe and the requirements of a number of precedent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, this document adopted by the Constitutional Court clearly contradicts several provisions and the general spirit of the November 15, 2011 Decision No. 997 of the same court. Thus, 10 years ago, claiming that the financial situation of the media should be taken into account when awarding compensation for insult and slander in publications so that the liability does not lead to their bankruptcy, today the very court (although in a different composition), in fact, approves a law that stipulates a threefold increase in the upper threshold of damages award for insult and defamation. It is clear that this could become a signal for the courts to confiscate more money in such cases than is common practice today.

We, the undersigned organizations, reaffirm that we absolutely do not aim to defend offenders and slanderers, however, we insist that the use of disproportionately strict approaches is more likely to do harm to freedom of speech than to serve the fight against flaws. Especially as we consider that politicians, officials and representatives of various segments of the society often perceive criticism against themselves as defamation or insult and go to court. This may create serious obstacles to the free operation of media, encourage and increase the flow of lawsuits against journalists and media.

The adoption of this law is particularly alarming in the context of the disproportionate tightening of media regulations and the new restrictions applied. The criminalization of the so-called “grave insults” and the increased protection of public and state actors, as well as several other groups through that measure, as well as the initiatives on a ban on citing unidentifiable information sources, not publishing data on officials’ business trips and related expenses, purchases from a single vendor, etc. are part of that regressive process.

Recognizing that the entire state system was in fact unable to protect the media from unfounded and disproportionate restrictions and legal pressures, we demand:

– the National Assembly to review the entire legislative framework related to the activities of the media, to repeal the recently adopted laws contradicting the international norms and to refuse the adoption of similar bills in circulation, and after that to initiate open professional discussions to develop a concept of legal regulations in the media field;

– the RA President, the Constitutional Court, all political forces to contribute to the process of creating an enabling legal framework for the activities of the media and to actively oppose regressive legislative initiatives;

– the international organizations to discuss the issue of the adoption of media related laws by the RA Parliament in neglect of the international norms in that process, as well as to take measures to rectify the situation.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB “ASPAREZ”
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
“JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS” NGO
GORIS PRESS CLUB
“FEMIDA” NGO

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Armenian Parliament Building

Statement on unlawful obstructions or discontinuance of the activities of journalists and cameramen at the National Assembly

We, the undersigned journalistic organisations, hereby express our deep concern about and disappointment with the unacceptable situation and processes taking place at the National Assembly in the recent two days, including the facts of unlawful obstructions or discontinuance of the activities of journalists and cameramen covering them.

On 24 August, when heated polemic between the members of the NA developed into a brawl, the security officers forcibly removed the representatives of the media from the box foreseen for the press, thereby preventing them from continuing filming the incidents. The work of journalists and cameramen was obstructed also at the entrance to the plenary session hall. The said obstacles included threats by security officers directed at Hayk Tonoyan, cameraman of the online website www.news.am of depriving him of his NA accreditation if he continued shooting the incident, then the footages were allegedly deleted.

The same situation was repeated on 25 August. To prevent the parliamentary brawls from being filmed, the media representatives were again removed from the box, including by using violence. Their professional activities were again obstructed at the entrance to the plenary session hall.

We insist that these acts in respect of the journalists and cameramen accredited with the National Assembly violate the law and are directed against freedom of speech and the right of the public to receive information.  They are also contrary to the substance and essence of the discussions held during the 23 August meeting between the leaders of the three journalistic organisations – Committee to Protect Freedom of Exspression, Center for Media Initiatives and Journalists’ Club Asparez – and the NA Speaker Alen Simonyan.

It goes without saying that all RA citizens have a right to be informed of the manner of work and conduct of each and every MP. Moreover, any information in respect of the parliament, which does not contain state or other secrets, must become public property. This can happen first and foremost through uninhibited journalistic work.

In the light of the aforesaid, we demand that:

  • The NA leadership discontinues without a delay the practice of violence, pressure and unlawful restrictions in respect of the journalists and cameramen accredited with the parliament, regardless of the events they cover whilst performing their professional duties;
  • The Speaker of the NA participates by all means in the discussion foreseen on 30 August by the Standing Committee on Human Rights Protection and Public Affairs, which will be dedicated to the above problems and to maximally meet the reasonable expectations of journalists;
  • The officers of the security service stop exceeding their powers by applying ungrounded restrictions on journalists and cameramen working in the parliament and putting forward ungrounded demands, as well as stop obstructing their professional activity.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES
 CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB ‘ASPAREZ’
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GORIS PRESS CLUB
‘FEMIDA’ NGO

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Armenia -- Speaker of National Assembly Alen Simonyan, Yerevan, 11Aug2021

Statement on interference with journalists’s work at the National Assembly

11 August, 2021, Yerevan

On 11 August, following a heated exchange between the MPs from the ruling faction and the opposition, Alen Simonyan, Speaker of the National Assembly ordered to discontinue live broadcast. In addition to this, the security officers prohibited the journalists and cameramen accredited with the parliament to shoot the incident from the box allocated to them.

We, the undersigned journalistic organisations note that the Speaker of the National Assembly clearly exceeded his powers: the RA Constitutional Law on the Rules of the National Assembly Procedures does not foresee such a power. RA citizens have a right to and must be informed of anything happening in the parliament, including the conduct of each and every single MP, regardless of whether this conduct is assessed positively or negatively.

We harshly condemn the prohibition imposed on the media representatives by the security officers whereby they were not able to shoot the conflicting situation in the plenary session hall.

Utterly shocked at yet another incident of restricting without any good reason the activities of the journalists accredited in the parliament, yet another infringement on the right to be informed of the RA citizens, we hereby reiterate the assessment as reflected in our August 5 statement, and we demand that the NA leadership:

  • Publicly provide explanations on the legal basis of the interrupted live broadcast of the NA sitting and where there is no such basis, issue a public apology and guarantee that no such incidents will be repeated in the future;,
  • Prevent any incident of obstruction of professional journalistic activity in the NA and any attempt at applying ungrounded restrictions;,
  • Take measures to ensure that the security officers do not exceed their powers and in no way interfere with the work of the media representatives, except for cases provided by the rules of procedure, of which journalists are informed in advance;
  • Annul all the restrictions applied to our colleagues since 2 August until a new rules of procedure for the work of media representatives in the parliament is drafted with the participation of accredited journalists and stakeholder organisations.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB ‘ASPAREZ’
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GORIS PRESS CLUB
FEMIDA NGO

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Armenian Parliament Building

Statement on Restrictions for Movement of Media Representatives in Parliament

STATEMENT

3 August, 2021, Yerevan

The opening session of the National Assembly of the 8th convocation convened on 2 August was accompanied with strict restrictions to the movement of media representatives in the parliament. Journalists and cameramen were not allowed into the new parliamentary building where sessions of the standing commissions are convened, nor enter the area accommodating the rooms of he representatives of the parliamentary majority, nor even use certain lobbies where they used to take interviews and comments from MPs. 

As early as the last two weeks there were rumours about imposition of such restrictions. However, concerns to this effect were appeased when in answer to the inquiry made by Taguhi Tovmasyan, MP from the ‘I have honour’ faction the secretary general-chief of the NA staff informed her that there was no decision on restricting journalists’ movement. Nevertheless, on the very next working day the media representatives had to face the opposite situation.

We, the undersigned media organisations, note that the above restrictions were imposed in the parliament without any prior discussions and informing the media in advance of the changes in their working conditions. And what is even more important: no normative legal act has been adopted as the legal basis for such actions and only on the same day, 2 August, when these restrictions became effective, the decision of the NA Speaker on this was published.

We condemn such arbitrariness and insist that these steps, rather than regulating the free activities of the media in the parliament, are aimed at creating unnecessary obstacles in obstruction of professional journalistic activity. These steps are directed at shielding parliamentarians from unwanted questions and the criticism of the press and can clearly undermine the transparency and accountability of the NA work.  

We are aware and have time and again voiced our concerns about the unpleasant incidents in the NA when both MPs and journalists have transcended the boundaries of civilised relations and created meaningless conflicts. However, this problem must be resolved on the basis of legality, good reason, mutual understanding and trust in order tp enhance the effectiveness of both MPs’ and journalists’ work.  

In view of the aforesaid, we demand that the leadership of the NA:

  • Annul without a delay the restrictions imposed on media representatives on 2 August;
  • Suspend the effect of paragraph 5 of the Decision of the NA Speaker amending Annex 1 to the decision of the NA Speaker NO-01-L dated 12 February 2019 relating to these restrictions;
  • Initiate broad discussion with the participation of the journalists accredited in the NA, their managers, media non-governmental organisations, international experts with a view to effectively and finally resolving the existing problems.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES
 CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB ‘ASPAREZ’
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GORIS PRESS CLUB
‘FEMIDA’ NGO

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Digital security training

On July 19 – 20, 2021 Media Diversity Institute carried out a digital security training for civil society organizations. The training was led by digital security consultants Samvel Martirosyan and Vartan Arzumanyan.

A range of civil society organizations, including “Law Development Center”, “Women in Armenia Foundation”, “Women’s Resource Center”, “Eurasia Partnership” Foundation, “Armenian Progressive Youth”, Public Journalism Club, “Advocacy Without Borders” and others took part in the training.

This capacity building event was implemented under the  “EU4LabourRights: Increasing Civic Voice and Action for Labour Rights and Social Protection in Armenia” project, which is implemented by OxYGen Foundation, Socioscope NGO, “Asparez” Journalists’ Club NGO, Armenian Progressive Youth NGO, Media Diversity Institute – Armenia in cooperation with Protection of Rights without Borders NGO, and Eurasia Partnership Foundation. The Project is funded by the European Union.

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STATEMENT

Drafts amending the decision No 1230-N of the RA Prime Minister dated 19 September, 2018, the decision no 1104-N of the RA Government dated 30 August 2012, and the decision No 982-N of the RA Government dated 22 September 2016 have recently been posted on the website e-draft.am. The first of them foresees non-disclosure on the website e-gov.am of any information on the objectives of the official trips, discussed topics, meetings, speeches of and decisions adopted by public officials. The second foresees non-disclosure of information in relation to procurement from one person, the register of hazardous industrial objects, the data of companies entitled to exploit land resources with a view to extracting useful fossils and conducting archeological expeditions. In addition to this, it is suggested to remove from the website gov.travel.am information on the airline carriers, flights, their cost, registration codes, and numbers of passengers.

These documents were developed by the RA Ministry of High Technologies in cooperation with the RA National Security Service.

We are extremely concerned about the fact that the political force having come to power on the wave of the 2018 revolution, which also won the June 20 snap parliamentary elections, is tabling restrictions in the area of freedom of information unnecesary in a democratic society. The overwhelming majority of the documents posted for discussion contradict Article 51 of the RA Constitution, the RA Law on Freedom of Information and Armenia’s OGP international obligations.

The fact that these authorities have failed to adopt transparent working procedures is also proven by lack of willingness to amend the provisions of the Law on Procurement, according to which the expenditures of the first 3 figures in the State (the RA Prime Minister, the President and the President of the NA) were classified as state secrets by the previous authorities.  The next move giving rise to concern was the approval by the Government of the draft law on restricting environmental information in April 2020. The package of draft discussed currently is the logical continuation of this wrong approach.

Taking note of the statement disseminated by the Ministry for High Technologies today, we, nevertheless, stress that it does not alleviate our doubts that the authorities owing to their subjective perceptions and narrow political interests will obstruct the further flow of information of public interest.

Considering that restrictions on such information create corruption risks, contradict the RA legislation and international norms on transparent and accountable governance, we, the undersigned organisations demand that the RA Government:

  • Annuls the above drafts,
  • Holds comprehensive discussions with the relevant state organisations, professional non-governmental organisations, independent experts and the representatives of international organisations with a view to finding solutions to freedom of information problems.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER
JOURNALISTS’ CLUB ‘ASPAREZ’
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE – ARMENIA
PUBLIC JOURNALISM CLUB
JOURNALISTS FOR FUTURE
JOURNALISTS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
GORIS PRESS CLUB
FEMIDA NGO

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