Open post
Աջակցություն պատերազմում տուժած լրագրողներին

Support to the Journalists Injured during the War

Within the framework of the “Rapid Response Fund Initiative program, the Public Journalism Club is announcing about an opportunity to provide financial assistance to media workers injured during the war.

Due to the limited financial resources, the media workers who suffered during the second Nagorno Karabakh  war and obtained health problems will be selected.

If you have covered the 44-day war and your health has been damaged, please fill out this form. Deadline for applications is June 30, 2021.

The main goals of the “Rapid Response Fund Initiative” program supported by EED (European Endowment for Democracy) are to provide fast and flexible support to journalists and media workers, to provide them with medical and psychological assistance, to develop professional skills in international humanitarian law, first aid, digital and personal data security, and to raise awareness of psychological protection among journalists and the public.

The program is implemented by the Public Journalism Club NGO. Within the framework of the project, a coordinating consortium was formed, which includes the Media Initiative Centerthe Yerevan Press Clubthe Freedom of Information Centerthe Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, and the Comprehensive Information Institute. The consortium will develop the long-term vision, mission, and strategy of the initiative.

Open post
Armenia -- The logo of the Human Rights Defender, Yerevan, 22Mar2021

Statement on cyberbullying against journalist Ani Gevorgyan and her child

On 14 April, 2021, Arman Tatoyan, the RA Human Rights Defender announced that Ani Gevorgyan, journalist from the website Tert.am, had applied to him informing that she had received threats in different social media in connection with performance by her of her professional journalistic activities. In particular, several users had disseminated a photo of her and her child along with insulting and degrading texts.

Taking note of HRD Arman Tatoyan’s intention to send a letter to the RA Police and that Ani Gevorgyan has already reported the case to the law enforcement authorities, we hereby record an increase in the cases of attacks and pressure on journalists both in the social media and during mass political protests. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to develop a culture of civilized political debate within our society and confronting any dissent with hatred, swear words and threats still remains widespread. Furthermore, no regard whatsoever is paid to the danger of illegally publicizing the photos and other personal data of minors. Under these circumstances special attention by the law enforcement authorities to the problem and taking adequate countermeasures becomes even more demanded.

We, the undersigned journalistic organizations, condemn any form of pressure on media representatives, especially if this is connected with a criminally punishable act, such as a threat to a journalist or his/her close relative. Underlining the importance of the precedent of a journalist applying to a state institution, we demand that:

  • The RA Police take steps to ensure Ani Gevorgyan’s safety, to identify and hold liable the users that have insulted and threatened her in social networks.
  • The political forces and their proponents demonstrate more restraint in respect of journalists and the media performing their professional duty regardless of their focus, disseminated ideas and views.

We call on journalists to voice any incident of violation of their rights, which will contribute to giving publicity to the issue and effectively protecting the rights of media workers.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
CENTER FOR MEDIA INITIATIVES
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

Open post
AI Data Processing

MDI Armenia publishes eBook on Digital Human Rights

The rapid development of digital technologies and communications resulted in many new legal and public policy areas such as, for example, personal data protection, cyber policing, cybersecurity and many others. This eBook covers one of those areas, often referred to as digital rights. It might be interesting and useful for civil society activities, politicians, public authorities, and those involved in policy decision-making or public discussion of such policies.

The eBook is written primarily for the Armenian audience, and its first part contains the analysis of Armenian policies, legal and regulatory frameworks. It covers the concept of digital rights in general, specific areas of their implication and relevant international documents, the analysis of the Armenian legislation in the context of the implementation of digital rights and proposes some steps for strengthening their protection as well as features a series of analytical articles on the situation with Digital Human Rights in Armenia over the past year.

The book is available in Armenian as a PDF for free download.

Open post
Armenian Parliament Building

Statement on tripling fines for insult and defamation

On 24 March, 2021, the National Assembly adopted in the second reading and completely the legislative draft amending the RA Civil Code authored by Mr Alen Simonyan, Deputy Speaker of the NA, raising the damages awards for insult and defamation to 3 mln and 6 mln AMD, respectively.

This amendment is extremely dangerous, especially if we take into account the propensity of the representatives of the state authorities, politicians and other public figures to perceive even objective criticism as insult and defamation and apply to the court. If we add to this the total lack of independence of the judiciary, judgments following such complaints may become fatal for the further activities of the media.

This essentially means that contrary to the calls and pleadings of the media organisations and the expert community, the legislature approved of a repressive initiative related to the field of the media, which is not backed by any profound professional research and analysis, and is solely conditioned by narrow political interests.

The initial version of the draft, which was adopted in the first reading, foresaw multiplying the upper thresholds of damages awards for insult and defamation by five. Later, in the course of the deliberations in the NA it was decided to multiply them by three. This, however, cannot be deemed as a compromise in the solution of the problem as these amounts are not comparable with the financial-economic situation of the country and the finances of the media.

Without any intention whatsoever to defend those that commit defamation and insult, we, the undersigned media organisations, reaffirm that these amendments will cause a significant damage to freedom of expression and restrict the medias’ ability to criticise objectively. Apart from this, it may become a trigger for the courts to adopt more severe judgments against the media.

It is obvious that this legislative intitiative undermines the balance between the right to freedom of expression foreseen by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the right to privacy foreseen by Article 8 of the same Convention. This amendment also neglects an important provision from the Decision No 997 of the Constitutional Court dated 15 November 2011, according to which while determining a damages award for insult and defamation found in publications, note should be taken of the medias’ finances to avoid a situation whereby liability leads to bankruptsy.

In view of the aforesaid, we call on the:

  • RA President not to sign the Law on Amendments to the RA Civil Code and refer it to the RA Constitutional Court to verify whether it conforms to the RA Constitution and the precedent set by the Decision No 997 dated 15 November 2011 of the same Court.
  • International organisations to publicly deplore the legislative amendments raising the damages awards for defamation and insult and to call on the authorities to review this initiative endangering freedom of speech in Armenia.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
CENTER FOR MEDIA INITIATIVES
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

Open post

Statement on drastic increase of damages awards in defamation and insult cases

On 11 February, 2021, the parliament adopted a draft law authored by Alen Simonyan, Vice Speaker of the parliament, in the first reading, according to which the maximum amount of damages awards in defamation and insult cases must be multiplied by five to reach 10 mln and 5 mln AMD, respectively. We hereby note that yet another time the National Assembly is adopting legislation concerning the mass media, which is not founded on profound research and advice of competent experts.

This said, on 16 September when the above draft was first circulated we made a statement, noting that drastic increase of the damages awards may create serious threats for the whole media field, detrimenting not only indecent platforms but also journalists respecting the law and professional ethics, especially if we take into consideration that very often it is the good faith criticism of the media that is perceived as defamation or insult and result in judicial disputes.

We hereby reassert that the proposed amendment undermines the balance between the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention and the right to reputation as an element of the right to privacy guaranteed by Article 8 of the same Convention. Apart from this, it undermines the important principle reflected in the Decision No 997 of the Constitutional Court dated 15 November 2011, according to which when awarding damages in defamation and insult cases it is necessary to consider the financial situation of media outlets in order for such liability not to destroy them.

This draft that has passed its first reading is even more worrying in the light of the facts that solution to the problems in the field of the media is being sought by means of repressive legislative amendments and their enforcement. A vivid example of the aforesaid is the package of amendments to the Law on Mass Communication and the Code of Administrative Violations, which foresee references to anonymous sources in publications and a fine in the amount of 500 000 AMD for breaching this ban and in the amount of 1 mln AMD in case of repetitive violations.

In the circumstances of such regressive initiatives any step of the authorities in the field of the media will be perceived as a pressure on freedom of speech conditioned by narrow personal interests and priorities, as is the case of restrictions imposed by the NSS in respect of the media work in some areas in Syunik. The statements and clarifications made in this respect, as well as the actions taken create a lot of uncertainty, are controversial and inspire search for hidden agendas behind them.

Taking into consideration the unacceptable processes, which are taking place, as well as the likely negative implications of the legislative amendments concerning defamation and insult, we, the undersigned organizations, demand that:

  •  The National Assembly postpones the second reading and adoption of the above draft, and initiates public discussions on the problem of defamation and insult imparted by the media and the possible countermeasures to this;
  • The RA President refuses to sign the law in case it is adopted by the NA, expressing his clear position on this regressive initiative;
  • The state institutions ensure the fulfilment of the rights to freedom of information and access to information when building their relations with the mass media;
  • The international organizations discuss the problems of adoption of legislation concerning the media by the RA parliament in blatant neglect of the related international norms, as well as 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

Open post
Armenian Media Organizations

Statement on broadcasting hate speech and inciting violence

On the evening of November 12, 2020, the words of an Artsakh war veteran were played back on the large screen placed in Yerevan’s Republic square, which contained swearing and hate speech, threats of violence and murder. A part of the video was also broadcast on Public Television of Armenia.

Following the pogroms organized against the authorities, now it looks as though the authorities themselves do not wish to discriminate in the means of political struggle.

The escalating internal political confrontations in these crucial times for Armenia are pulling the society further apart, which can lead to irreversible consequences. As to the media and especially so in the case of the public broadcaster, their prime mission should be to consolidate the society and act responsibly in the face of the hard challenges facing the country.

We, the undersigned media organizations, express our support for the assessments and demands put forth by Arman Tatoyan, Human Rights Defender of Armenia, in a Facebook post. We strictly condemn dissemination of speech containing hate, swearing and threats, as well as the broadcasting of similar materials by the Public Television.

We also demand:

• The authorities to express a public position on the fact of publicizing hate, animosity and calls for violence, and hold responsible those officials, who have organized and carried out this impermissible action;

• The Council of the Public Television and Radio Company to implement due oversight over the broadcast content and exclude animosity and inciting violence in these difficult times for the country;

• The private media to act with utmost sense of responsibility, cover issues in a comprehensive and balanced manner, in accordance with the professional journalistic ethics.

We call on our compatriots not to give way to provocations, be it from the opposition or the authorities, and refrain from actions, which could lead to civil unrest.

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

Open post
RFERL Logo Large Landscape

Statement on the attack against the Armenian service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Today, on November 10, at about 4:00 AM, dozens of men tried to burst into the Yerevan Bureau of “Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty” (Azatutyun Radio). The attackers knocked on the doors with their feet and fists, swore at the employees of the Bureau. According to the statement published by the radio station, the attackers said that they have come to take away the servers to stop Azatutyun from broadcasting, swore at the employees, and pushed them around. The attackers left after Radio Liberty’s employees called the police.

We, the undersigned media organizations, express our indignation over this unbridled attack; we consider any violence, pressure, persecution of journalists, and the media inadmissible at such a critical moment for Armenia.

We demand from the law enforcement bodies to take immediate measures to find the initiators and perpetrators of the attack on the radio station and bring them to justice.

We call on all political forces, non-government and other bodies, initiatives, and citizens to show restraint and exclude any harassment against the media and their employees, regardless of their political orientation.

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

Open post
Nagorno-Karabakh -- Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shoushi after rocket fire by Azerbaijani armed forces, 08Oct2020

Statement on targeting journalists in Shoushi

Օn October 8, 2020 journalists were wounded in Nagorno-Karabakh again, namely Yuri Kotyonok, editor-in-chief of the Russian “Segodnia.ru” website and Levon Arzanov, a correspondent of the “Офицеры России” (“Russia’s Officers”) website and “Красная звезда” (“The Red Star”) newspaper. Just as on the previous days, when journalists covering the war were wounded, this time too the incident happened in a peaceful settlement, namely in the town of Shushi. The journalists were taking footage of the impact of the first shelling at Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral by Azerbaijan when the church was double tapped, with clear targeting, causing Levon Arzanov’s and Yuri Kotyonok’s heavy injuries. They were taken to hospital.

It is needless to say that Saint Ghazanchetsots is at a great distance from other buildings and was shelled from a super-precise weapon. In fact, the journalists were hit during a live stream. These facts come to refute the claims of the Azerbaijani party that they do not specifically target civilian buildings and journalists.

We, the undersigned organizations:

• reassert our call to the international community to strongly condemn the violence against the civilian population and the representatives of the media fulfilling their professional duties during the war unleashed by Azerbaijan;

• demand the undertaking of practical steps against Azerbaijan that has violated the Geneva Convention and elementary humanitarian norms, as well as applying sanctions because of the misanthropic activities of the authorities in that country.

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

Open post
Collage of vehicles carrying journalists, which came under fire in Artsakh

Statement regarding the Azerbaijani targeting of journalists

In the past few days, military operations have escalated in Nagorno-Karabakh. In this connection, covering the conflict has become extremely complicated for Armenian and foreign journalists. Azerbaijan keeps launching extensive missile attacks against peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert, flagrantly violating the humanitarian norms stipulated by the Geneva Convention. Media representatives that have been performing their professional duties are being targeted just like the urban and rural population.

On October 1, 2020, as a result of those hatred-based actions, two foreign and two Armenian journalists were wounded, in response to which we have already expressed our outrage. On the following day, a group of journalists on a bus miraculously escaped the Azerbaijani UAV chase. More cases of threat to journalists’ life and health have been reported in Stepanakert on October 4.

On October 2, Hikmat Hajiyev, an aide to the Azerbaijani president, weirdly justified the cases of targeting the media representatives. According to him, foreign journalists have not obtained permission from the Azerbaijani government, therefore their stay in Nagorno-Karabakh is illegal and Baku should bear no responsibility for their safety.

This is nothing else but an indirect threat to journalists, guided by military actions against them. Basically Azerbaijan, with few exceptions, does not accredit the foreign media representatives that would like to cover the conflict, making every attempt to impede their work on the Armenian side by life-and-health-threatening actions. This also infringes the right of the public to obtain information under martial law.

Taking this situation into account, we, the undersigned organizations, call upon international structures and all our foreign partners to pay attention to the assaults of Azerbaijan against journalists, as well as raise their voice in protest and perform practical steps in order to counteract their actions.

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

Open post
Vehicle carrying journalists came under fire in Martuni town, Artsakh

Statement of media organizations on targeting journalists in Artsakh’s Martuni town by Azerbaijan

Today, on October 1st, 2020 Armenian and foreign journalists located in the town of Martuni, in Artsakh, suffered as a result of artillery fire from Azerbaijan. More specifically, representatives of “Le Monde” newspaper, correspondent Allan Kaval and photojournalist Rafael Charles Yaghobzadeh, cameraman of “Armenia” television company Aram Grigorian and correspondent of online news portal “24news.am” Sevak Vardumian were injured. Deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian “Dozhd” TV channel Dmitry Yelovsky also came under Azerbaijani fire, but he was able to take cover in a bomb shelter along with other journalists.

According to official information, Azerbaijani troops opened fire on the vehicle carrying representatives of Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

It is worth noting, that the journalists suffered in a region, which is quite far from the line of contact between the conflicting sides. This is yet another proof that the attacks of the Azerbaijani military are also directed against the civilian population. This fact, as well as firing on journalists is a gross violation of the Geneva Convention.

Given the above-mentioned circumstances, we, the undersigned media organizations, are calling on:
· The International Community to resolutely condemn the war unleashed by Azerbaijan and demand from the official Baku to stop attacks on civilians and media representatives performing their professional duty;
· Governments of Armenia and Artsakh to take additional steps to ensure the safety of journalists.

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

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4
Scroll to top