Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

հայերեն | english

News & events

Workshop for Lawyers and Journalists


At the initiative of the Freedom of Information Center, the Information Disputes Council held a workshop for lawyers and journalists on October 27 - 28, 2012.

The workshop supported by OSCE Yerevan Office was aimed at studying the Information Disputes Council’s (IDC) experience with court cases related to insult and defamation/libel. It has to be noted that most of the lawyers and journalists participating in the workshop at a time had been either plaintiffs or defendants in insult and/or defamation/libel court cases.

In a welcome speech Tsovinar Arevyan, National Programme Officer, Democratization Programme of the OSCE Yerevan Office, wished productive work to the attendants and expressed gratitude to the IDC members. Shushan Doydoyan, President of the Freedom of Information Center and Secretary of IDC then presented the main functions of the Information Disputes Council and a brief report on its activities to date.

The first speaker of the workshop was Ara Ghazaryan, Deputy Director of Arni Consult Ltd. law firm, Member of the Information Disputes Council. He presented the IDC expert opinions on insult and defamation/libel court cases and elaborated on those conducted in 2012. The statistical data presented by A. Ghazaryan suggested that in insult and defamation/libel court cases, most of the times the decisions were in favor of the mass media.

Sona Truzyan, Spokesperson to the Republic of Armenia Prosecutor General, then presented the peculiarities of media coverage of crimes, the problems related to violation of personal privacy and presumption of innocence. S. Truzyan stated that privacy of public figures must be more accessible. However, at the same time she noted that in their publications mass media often violate the right for privacy. During the discussions Sona Truzyan also pointed to the lack of professionalism among journalists, particularly online civil reporters.

The second day of the workshop was related to the problems of insult and defamation/libel in electronic media.

The topic was presented by Anna Israelyan, Editor of online, and Suren Deheryan, President of the Journalists for Future NGO. Anna Israelyan elaborated on information spread by mass media in social networks, the problem of insulting and defamatory comments that appear in online media through social networks. On one hand, Anna Israelyan pointed out that insulting and defamatory comments need to be removed and that for a media outlet it is worthwhile to filter out the comments. On the other hand, she added that moderating online content is viewed as censorship by the readers.

As a result of discussions the participants concluded that mass media should moderate their content as far as possible in order to prevent insults and defamation.

Suren Deheryan emphasized the ethical issues in journalism, the problem of unverified and biased information widespread in online media.

At the end of the workshop the participants underscored the usefulness of such discussions in exposing the existing problems and recommended to invite for discussions the judges who have presided over and made decisions in such court cases. Having noted the importance of media coverage of crimes, as well as preventing presumption of innocence violations, the participants also recommended to organize discussions with journalists and police representatives.

← Back to the list

Share |