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Pressure towards media intensifies during the elections: Expert

22.10.2012

In July-September of this year situation with the freedom of speech and press was tense in Armenia. The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression has recorded 16 cases of violation.

Today President of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression Ashot Melikyan presented the 2012 third quarter report on the Freedom of Speech in Armenia and violations of the rights of journalists and media.

In July-September of this year the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression has recorded 16 cases of violation of the rights of journalists and media. One is the case of physical violence, 9 cases relate to the pressure towards journalists and media and 6 cases relate the violation of the right to receive and disseminate information.

Compared to the same period of the last year, the number of violations has been increased by 3. However, compared to the previous quarter which has coincided with the Parliamentary elections, the number has been reduced by 7.

«The practice shows that during the elections pressure towards journalists and media usually intensifies and recent elections were not an exception», highlighted Ashot Melikyan.

During the elections of the local government bodies held in September the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression has recorded 5 cases of violation. One of the cases was a physical violence, the remaining 4 cases involved violation of the right to receive and disseminate information.

The physical violence has been applied towards the cameraman of «Tsayg» TV company. At the polling station 34/73 in Gyumri he was pushed, slapped and there were attempts to seize his camera.

To compare, during the Parliamentary elections the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression has recorded 3 cases of violation.

Within the previous quarter “A1plus” obtained the possibility of 20 minutes broadcast on the Armnews TV Company. “Some people may consider this as a tolerance of authorities towards freedom of speech. We believe it is not sufficient condition to ensure the pluralism of the Armenian broadcasting field. Moreover, we do not believe that issue of “A1 plus” is thus settled”, told the President of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression.

Compared to the previous year the number of lawsuits against media based on slander and insult has decreased.

In July-September of 2012 4 lawsuits were filed against media and in one of the cases nine media outlets were involved as the third party.

During 9 months of 2012 10 lawsuits were filed against media outlets while 25 lawsuits were brought against last year. Two of the lawsuits were proceeded in 2011 while the court examinations started in 2012.

Hindrance of the work of media in Gyumri during the briefing of RA President Serzh Sargisyan has been recorded by the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression as a violation. Six media organizations issued a statement condemning the incident. 

 “The argumentation received from the President’s Administration that the space was small is not fully reflects the reality and not persuasive. We consider it as discrimination and this practice should be stopped”, highlighted Ashot Melikyan. 

Author Մերի Ալեքսանյան
Source www.hra.am