ARMENIA DOES NOT FULLY FULFILL OBLIGATIONS ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Trend News Agency
July 8 2008
Azerbaijan

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 â~B¬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.

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