There will be publications containing more sharp criticism at the pre-election period but the number of court actions against mass media under the article of insult and defamation will not increase, thinks the editor-in-chief of “Aravot” daily newspaper Aram Abrahamyan. Today in “Henaran” club he said that the court actions against media decreased under the pressure of the west.
A. Abrahamyan predicts that on the day of elections there will be physical pressures on journalist. “If the people with thick necks enter the polling station and do ballot stuffing and the journalist shoot it or photograph, those with thick necks will attack the journalists and obstruct their work and the police will not take the journalist’s side but their side.”
The advocate Davit Tumasyan mentioned that in 2011 the courtmost actions were against “168 Zham” and “Hraparak” newspapers under the article of insult and defamation. He noted the majority of actions end in reconciliation because the trial lasts long which is not advantageous to both sides. And the majority of judgments made by the court relate to publishing denial and giving financial compensation.
In Aram Abrahamyan’s opinion the great wave of court actions following the non criminalization of insult and defamation is not conditioned by the fact that most of the mass media didn’t have a code of ethics but those who brought action were inspired with the idea of extorting money from newspapers.
“Putting a person into prison is one thing and taking money from them is another. The authorities, oligarchs (and not only) were inspired-we’ll bankrupt this newspaper by our actions” said Aram Abrahamyan.
According to him the great wave of the court actions calmed after the United States and European organizations expressed concern that it works against Armenia and isn’t honorable for a democratic country.
Davit Tumasyan noticed that the court actions made the mass media more cautious. “If you are honest and confess that you have changed the style of your writing after each court action considering what problem caused action in the court”.
The advocate adds that publishing information which contains insult and defamation and putting the opinion of the opposite side in the same material do not mean denial because the published information is already denied.
Aram Abrahamyan is convinced if the journalist shows professionalism and their aim is to give an information and not to insult then they will find the way to present the most critical opinion properly so to be insured from court consequence.
While writing an article I replace the most castigating adjective by a more gentle word after reading it for the second and third time. The content stays the same but the way is different and it helps us to be protected” shares his experience the editor of “Aravot”.
Nevertheless, he doesn’t advice to give in the journalistic freedom and thinks that first of all the journalist is responsible to his reader.