Armenia does not Fully Fulfill Obligations on Freedom of Expression: Council of Europe

Armenia Materials 8 July 2008 17:41 (UTC +04:00)
Armenia does not Fully Fulfill Obligations on Freedom of Expression: Council of Europe

Armenia does not fully fulfill obligations to the Council of Europe on freedom of expression in the country, Francisca Clopfer, coordinator of the program of the secretariat on human rights and judicial issues of the Council of Europe said, Novosti-Armenia reported.

"The neglect of Armenia is indicated in the resolutions of PACE which first of all point to the regulation of the broadcasting system because of the European Court on case of A+1 TV channel," Clopfer said on 8 July in the international conference on Pluralism in Armenian Mass Media.

On 17 June, the European Court on Human Rights satisfied the appeal of Melteks company (founder of A+1 oppositional channel) and its director Mesrop Movsesyan against Armenia. The Court said that the closure of A+ 1 in 2002 contradicted Article 10 of the Human Rights Convention (freedom of speech) and demanded the country to pay €30,000 as compensation.

Clopfer added that the decision issued on this case shows that the broadcasting legislation do no provide enough opportunities for independence in the broadcasting sphere. "As a whole, PACE Resolutions say that the freedom of should be promoted in Armenia and the authorities should take immediate measures in this regard," she said. Clopfer pointed to the improvement of the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting and added that this is the best recommendation by the Council of Europe.

The coordinator of the program noted that the conference aims at determining future steps to insure pluralism in the Armenian media together with the authorities, media and civil society.

Naira Zograbian, deputy chairman of the standing parliament commission on science, education and culture and youth and sport said that the Law on Television and Radio Broadcasting is being improved at present.

"We presented the draft bill on changes to this Law to the international experts to consider it," she said.

The draft bill will be introduced to the public after the conclusion of the experts in autumn, she said.