OSCE Concerned Over Growing Number Of Lawsuits Against Media In Arme


November 12, 2011 – 11:09 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media,
Dunja Mijatovi├ä~G, in a letter to Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward
Nalbandian expressed concern over the growing number of libel suits
filed against Armenia’s news outlets, and called upon the authorities
to further reform the legislation to adequately protect the media in
civil defamation cases, OSCE said in a press release.

“I welcomed decriminalization of defamation in Armenia in May 2010
as a significant step toward ensuring a media-friendly environment.

Regretfully since then, almost 30 civil defamation lawsuits have been
brought against newspapers, including 11 this year,” Mijatovi├ä~G said.

“In most cases, the compensation sought is out of proportion to the
damage allegedly inflicted.” Mijatovi├ä~G stressed that compensation
awarded in civil libel lawsuits should be proportional to actual
damages and should not lead to the closure of a news outlet, which
would “result in limiting press freedom”.

In her letter to Minister Nalbandian, she said her Office is ready
to assist Armenia in further reforming its media legislation and
promoting freedom of the media. As an example, she referred to a
training seminar organized in Yerevan on November 1 by the OSCE, to
help familiarize Armenian judges with international best practices in
defamation cases. “I hope this initiative will help contain the wave
of libel suits filed against Armenian media,” Mijatovi├ä~G underlined.