YEREVAN PRESS CLUB WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

APRIL 30 - MAY 6, 2010

HIGHLIGHTS:

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY IN 2010 DEDICATED TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

ARMENIA TODAY COORDINATOR PUTS FORWARD HIS VERSION OF ATTACK ATTEMPTED
AGAINST HIM ONE YEAR AGO

ARMENIAN MEDIA ARE STILL CONSIDERED NOT FREE

JURY OF INTERNATIONAL HRANT DINK AWARD ANNOUNCED SUBMISSION OF NOMINATIONS


WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY IN 2010 DEDICATED TO FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

On May 3 the World Press Freedom Day was celebrated in many countries. The
World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed in 1993 by United Nations General
Assembly following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of
UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. In Armenia the tradition to celebrate
the international professional day of journalists was established in 1997.

This year the theme of the World Press Freedom Day was Freedom of
Information. The message of Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, among
other things highlighted the fundamental importance of the right to know for
upholding other basic rights, for furthering transparency, justice and
development: "Hand-in-hand with the complementary notion of freedom of
expression, it underpins democracy."

"Far too many journalists exercise their profession in an environment where
restrictions on information are the norm, where dealing with pressure,
harassment intimidation or even physical assault are all in a day's work.
Last year UNESCO condemned the killing of 77 journalists. For the most part
these were not war casualties but local reporters covering local stories",
the message of Irina Bokova says. The Director-General of UNESCO invited to
observe a minute of silence for "those whom it is too late to help", "the
journalists who paid with their lives for our right to know". At the same
time, Irina Bokova stressed the significant advances that have been made:
"More and more countries around the world are adopting freedom of
information legislation. This makes it easier to scrutinize government
actions, and it reinforces public accountability." In conclusion Irina
Bokova called upon governments, civil society, the news media and
individuals everywhere to join forces with UNESCO in promoting Freedom of
Information all over the world.

ARMENIA TODAY COORDINATOR PUTS FORWARD HIS VERSION OF ATTACK ATTEMPTED
AGAINST HIM ONE YEAR AGO

On April 30 Argishti Kivirian, Coordinator of Armenia Today news agency,
called a press conference at which he announced that the investigation of
the assault made on him last year was unfruitful. As it has been reported,
on April 30, 2009 at about 5.00, strangers with bats attacked Argishti
Kivirian on the way home from his office which is located in the next
entrance. In a grave condition, with multiple injuries, also on his head,
Argishti Kivirian was taken to hospital. Right after the incident the police
instituted criminal proceedings on Article 117 of the RA Criminal Code -
"Intentional non-grave health injuries", which was strongly criticized by
lawyers, human rights organizations. Particularly, in their opinion,
numerous blows requiring a hospitalization and other circumstances of the
incident cannot be just qualified as "non-grave health injuries". Moreover,
on the photos made by free lance journalist Gagik Shamshian at the site of
the attack, a bloody bat and gun shells could be seen. The photos were
placed on Internet sites on the very day of the incident (later they were
published by the press), but the RA Police report did not say anything about
the detection of shells. Later, the case was transmitted to the
Investigative Department of the RA National Security Service, where it was
requalified to Article 34-104 of the RA Criminal Code, i.e., murder attempt.
On July 11, 2009 the court of general jurisdiction of Kentron and
Nork-Marash communities of Yerevan selected arrest as preventive punishment
in regard to two persons, accused for the murder attempt (see YPC Weekly
Newsletter, July 10-16, 2009).

At the meeting with the journalists Argishti Kivirian expressed his own
version noting that the assault on him could have been ordered by Samvel
Petrosian, Head of the Police of Akhalkalaki (the region of Armenian
populated Samtskhe-Javakheti in Georgia). According to the information
present on the website of Armenia Today on April 30, 2010, the investigation
conducted by the journalist gave ground for such an allegation. In the
opinion of Kivirian, the reason of the assault could have been the extremely
critical articles about the Head of the Akhalkalaki Police. The Coordinator
of Armenia Today also noted that the two men arrested on charges of murder
attempt in July 2009 were released on March 8, 2010. According to Kivirian,
not long before the assault, those two had met with the Head of the
Akhalkalaki Police, moreover, one of them is Samvel Petrosian's relative.
"Commenting upon the investigation as a whole, Kivirian stressed that the
case will be procrastinated and suppressed after a while", the information
of Armenia Today emphasizes in particular.

ARMENIAN MEDIA ARE STILL CONSIDERED NOT FREE

On April 29 the international human rights organization "Freedom House"
released its annual report on freedom of press in the world in 2009.
"Freedom House" assessed the media situation by assigning a numerical score
from 1 to 100 on the following categories: free (1-30 points), partly free
(31-60 points), not free (61-100) - the lower the score, the higher the
freedom. The latter was defined by three dimensions: legal, political and
economic environments in which media operate. The sum of all three
dimensions yielded the cumulative rating of the media situation in each
country.

Out of 196 countries and territories surveyed in 2009 in 69 (or 35%) media
were recognized free, in 64 (or 33%) - partly free and in 63 (or 32%) were
rated not free. Only 16% or only one of six inhabitants in the world live in
countries that enjoy free press, 44% have a partly free press, and 40% - not
free press. "Freedom House" revealed an overall negative shift in media
freedom worldwide throughout 8 years. The list of 2009 is topped by Finland,
Iceland, Norway and Sweden (10 points each), followed by Denmark (11
points), Belgium and Luxembourg (12 points each).

Of the post-Soviet countries only the press of the three Baltic States is
recognized by "Freedom House" to be free, and only Ukraine (53 points) and
Georgia (59 points) are classed as partly free. Ukraine and Georgia continue
to be in this category for already 6 years. At the same time, the situation
of freedom of expression in both countries has somewhat improved comparing
with 2008 (55 and 60 points, respectively). Other former USSR countries'
media continue to stay not free. Turkmenistan (95) ranks the second from
the end (North Korea closes the list - 99). Also, as compared to 2008, the
rankings of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have not changed either (78 each). The
situation has somewhat deteriorated in Kyrgyzstan - 73 (versus 72 in 2008),
Azerbaijan - 79 (versus 78), Russia - 81 (versus 80), Belarus - 92 (versus
91). On the contrary the indexes of Uzbekistan - 92 (versus 93) and Moldova
- 65 points (versus 67) have improved a little.

The ranking of Armenia which got 66 points has moved up (versus 68 in 2008).
According to "Freedom House", the improved scores of Moldova and Armenia
"are a result of reduced censorship and restrictions on news coverage". It
should be noted that the Armenian media are considered not free for eight
years on end (since 2002).

JURY OF INTERNATIONAL HRANT DINK AWARD ANNOUNCED SUBMISSION OF NOMINATIONS

The Jury of the International Hrant Dink Award announced the submission of
nominations for 2010 Award. The annual International Hrant Dink Award is
presented to individuals, organizations and groups that work for a free and
just world without discrimination, racism and violence, who take personal
risks for achieving those ideals, who break the stereotypes by giving
inspiration and hope to others. By means of this Award, the Hrant Dink
Foundation aims to remind all those who struggle for these ideals that their
voices are heard and they are not alone.

The winners will be announced on September 15, 2010 - on the birthday of
Hrant Dink, Chief Editor of "Agos" Armenian-Turkish newspaper, who was
killed in Istanbul on January 19, 2007.

The International Hrant Dink Award Jury consists of: author Adalet Agaoglu;
journalists Alper Gormus and Amira Hass (both of them are winners of the
Hrant Dink Award 2009); Boris Navasardian, President of Yerevan Press Club;
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Member of the European Parliament; journalist Hasan
Cemal; Irene Khan, former Secretary General of Amnesty International;
feminist intellectual Judith Butler; Rakel Dink, President of the Board of
Directors of the Hrant Dink Foundation.

The deadline for nominations for the Award is May 15, 2010.

The nomination form is presented on the website www.hrantdinkaward.org and
can be either uploaded through the website or sent by post:

Hrant Dink Vakfi
Halaskargazi Cad. Sebat Apt. No: 74/1
Osmanbey. Sisli 34371
Istanbul, Turkey


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Editor of YPC Newsletter - Elina POGHOSBEKIAN
_____________________________________ _______
Yerevan Press Club
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0002, Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: (+ 374 10) 53 00 67; 53 35 41; 53 76 62
Fax: (+374 10) 53 56 61
E-mail: [email protected]
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