Summary Of Legal Suits Filed Against Mass Media Outlets: Compensatio

SUMMARY OF LEGAL SUITS FILED AGAINST MASS MEDIA OUTLETS: COMPENSATION DEMANDS TRENDING DOWNWARDS
By Liana Sayadyan and Tatevik Shaljyan

HETQ
April 5, 2012

Of the 30 defamation and insult suits filed against mass media
outlets in 2011 being covered by Hetq, 30 are still being litigated in
2012. According to 2012 1st quarter statistics, six of these cases have
been concluded in the RA court system and verdicts have been handed
down in five. One case was sent to the Court of Cassation. 18 cases
are still being litigated in Armenia’s general courts of jurisdiction.

To date, 9,796,560 AMD has been paid in compensation for defamation
and insult.

Name of Media Outlet

Name of Compensation Claimant

Court Ordered Compensation Amount

Compensation Status

Investigative Journalists NGO

Ijevan Mayor Varuzhan Nersisyan

952,600 AMD

(22,600-state tax)

Not paid

Hraparak (daily)

Hrach Keshishyan

376,560 AMD (of which 6,000 is state tax, 70,560 examination fee)

Paid

Haykakan Zhamanak (daily)

Ruben Hayrapetyan, Samvel Aleqsanyan and Levon Sargsyan

6,132,000AMD (132,000 – as state tax)

Paid

Yerkir (daily)

MP Tigran Arzakantsyan

288,000 AMD

Paid

Zhamanak (daily)

Bella Kocharyan, Sedrak Kocharyan

3 million AMD

Paid

Zhamanak (daily)

Tatul Manaseryan

510,000

Was appealed at Cassation Court

Zhamanak (daily)

”Glendale Hills”

,

Going to Appeals Court

Zhoghovurd (daily)

Gegharkuniq Regional Governor Never Poghosyan

200.000

Going to Appeals Court

Total

12,009,160

9,796,560

In libel cases examined this year, only one has been amicably
reconciled by mutual agreement of the parties – “Robert Kocharyan
v. Hraparak”

In two cases (Vano Yeghiazaryan v. Hetq reporter Adrineh Torosyan,
Tereza Shahverdyan v. Hetq reporter Adrineh Torosyan), the
plaintiffs reviewed and modified their compensation demands as
per the guidelines in the Constitutional Court’s November 15, 2011
decision. Vano Yeghiazaryan changed his 1million AMD demand to a
symbolic 1AMD. Tereza Shahaverdyan demanded 200,000 AMD instead of
the original 2 million. In two cases (“Glendale Hills v.

Zhamanak”, “Never Poghosyan v. Zhoghovurd”) the courts handed down
verdicts setting lower compensation awards than demanded.

Completed Cases

1. Bella and Setrak Kocharyan v. Zhamanak daily newspaper publisher and
founder Skizb Media Center, Ltd – The Court of Cassation refused the
petition of the plaintiff seeking a nullification of a October 11, 2011
Court of Appeals decision, thus letting stand a June 6, 2011 verdict
of the lower court according to which the newspaper was ordered to
pay the Kocharyan 1million AMD for insult and 2 million for defamation.

2. Hetq newspaper reporter Grisha Balasanyan v. RA National Assembly
MP Ruben Hayrapetyan – The Court of Cassation refused to hear the
petition brought by the reporter appealing the October 10, 2011
verdict of the Court of Appeals.

3. Vano Yeghiazaryan v. Zhamanak (a 3rd party litigant of defendant
Gevorg Melkonyan) – The Court of Cassation refused to hear Melkonyan’s
petition regarding an October 26, 2011 verdict by the Court of Appeals.

4. Litigants Robert Kocharyan and Hraparak reached a reconciliation
agreement as set forth in the February 15 verdict of Yerevan’s Kentron
and Nork-Marash General Court of Jurisdiction.

Three days later, the newspaper published a retraction of the February
12, 2011 article that Kocharyan argued was libelous.

5. On March 7, plaintiff Benik Harutyunyan modified his compensation
demand of the Zhoghovurd newspaper, dropping it from 2 million AMD to
200,000. Harutyunyan argued that the press has an important role to
play in the building of a democratic nation and that he didn’t want
to inflict excessive damage.

6. On March 24, Aram Chatinyan withdrew his legal suit against
photo-journalist Gagik Shamshyan. Chatinyan had sued Shamshyan over
an August 24, 2011 article in aravot.am.

Cases sent to the Court of Cassation

1. On September 20, 2011, the General Court of jurisdiction partially
sustained the suit of Tatul Manaseryan against the daily newspaper
Zhamanak, obliging the paper to issue a retraction of the original
article in question and to compensate Manaseryan in the amount of
510,000 AMD. On December 15, the Court of Appeals threw out the
newspaper’s petition to appeal. The case is now at the Court of
Cassation.

Completed cases at Court of General Jurisdiction

1. On January 30, 2011, the Kentron and Nork-Marash Court of General
Jurisdiction partially sustained the suit filed by Glendale Hills
against the newspaper Zhamanak, obliging the paper to pay the plaintiff
200,000 AMD in compensatory defamation damages and 300,000 for incurred
legal fees, and 10,000 and 40,000 for state fees.

Zhamanak was also ordered to publish a retraction of an August 26,
2010 article entitled “$1,000 for Silence”. Glendale Hills had demanded
2 million in defamation and 500,000 for legal fees.

2. On February 27, the Kentron and Nork-Marash General Court of
Jurisdiction threw out the libel suit filed by Hayk Babukhanyan
and Iravunk Media Ltd. against report.am and Edik Andreasyan. The
plaintiffs had argued that an article by Andreasyan was defamatory
and were demanded 6million AMD in compensation.

3. On March 7, the Kentron and Nork-Marash Court of General
Jurisdiction threw out the suit filed by attorney Artur Grigoryan
against the daily newspaper Hraparak, arguing that it was without
substantiation. Grigoryan argued that comments posted by readers
responding to an August 10, 2011 hraparak.am article were defamatory
and was seeking 18 million AMD in compensation.

4. On March 12, the Kentron and Nork-Marash Court of General
Jurisdiction threw out the libel suit filed by Hayk Babukhanyan against
analyst Edik Andreasyan and report.am website editor Abel Mikayelyan,
arguing it was unsubstantiated. The plaintiff had demanded that the
site issue a public apology, print the full court verdict, and 1
million AMD in compensatory damages.

5. On March 19, the Gegharkuniq Regional Court partially sustained the
libel suit filed by Never Poghosyan against the Zhoghovurd newspaper
and Anna Torosyan. The court sustained the plaintiff’s demand that the
paper publish a retraction of the article in question (“The Regional
Governor took a bribe”; October 7, 2011 edition). Regional Governor
Poghosyan also sought 2.5 million AMD from the paper in damages for
defamation and insult, but the court decided to set the amount at
200,000 (100,000 in compensation and 100,000 for legal fees).

Ongoing court cases

1

Paravon Mirzoyan v. Chorrord Inknishanutyun newspaper

To obligate a retraction of the libelous information

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan Judge E. Avetisyan

Hall 6 May 23, at 12:30

2

Yerevan State University and Ara Gabuzyan v. “Banadzev” and Sirak
Yeghiazaryan

Charging with slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and business
reputation of the University’s Faculty of Law’s Criminal Rights
Department.

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan Judge S. Tadevosyan
Hall 8

May 11, at 11:00

3

Gurgen Khachatryan v. Lusine Ahsukhyan, ”ATV” and Hetq as 3rd person

To obligate a retraction of the libelous information

Lori Regional Court

Judge S. Baghdasaryan

Hall 1, at 12:00

4

Tereza Shahverdyan v. Adrine Torosyan and Hetq

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation

Lori Regional Court

Judge B. Grigoryan

April 23, Hall 2, at 14:30

5

Murad Asryan v. news.am

To defend the honor, dignity and business reputation

Ajapnyak and Davtashen District Court in Yerevan Judge M. Hartenyan,

April 19, Hall 4, at 16:30

6

Vano Yeghiazaryan v. Adrine Torosyan and Hetq

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation

Lori Regional Court

Judge V. Hovnanyan

April 14, at 11:30

7

Hamlet Tertryan, representative of Tigran Terteryan v. ”168 Hours”
and Marine Martirosyan

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation, and retraction

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge A. Melkoumyan

April 13, Hall 13, at 17:10

8

Ijevan Road Exploitation and Construction LLC v. Ijevan studio

Demand for compensatory damages and public apology

Tavush Regional Court

Judge A. Shahoyan

April 13, Hall 1, at 15:30

9

“Word of Life” religious organization and Artur Simonyan v.

Iravunk Investigation weekly and “Argumenti nedeli v Armenii” weekly

Retraction of slanderous and defamatory information and a public
apology

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge R. Nersisyan

April 13, Hall 2, at 16:30

10

Helsinki Citizens Assembly, (Vanadzor office) v. Vladimir Gasparyan

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge A. Sukoyan

April 10, Hall 5, at 15:00

11

Arman Avetisyan, President of the ”Minas Avetisyan” Benevolent Fund’s
Board of Trustees v. “Asparez” journalists club and Levon Barsegyan

Retraction of slanderous and defamatory information, a public apology
and demand for compensatory damages

Shirak Regional Court

Judge A. Khachatryan

April 10, Hall 3, at 14:30

12

Benik Harutunyan v. Zhoghovurd daily

Retraction of slanderous and defamatory information, a public apology
and demand for compensatory damages Õº/Õ´

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge R. Apinyan

April 10, Hall 7, at 11:30

13

Vano Yeghiazaryan v Boris Ashrafyan and Aravot daily as 3rd person

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation

Lori Regional Court

Judge V. Hovnanyan

April 4, at 14:30

14

” Arrhythmology Cardiology Center v Aravot daily

To defend the honor, dignity and business reputation

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge E. Avetisyan

April 4, Hall 6, at 12:30

15

Margarit Martirosyan v ”168 Hours” and Hripsime Karapetyan

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation, and retraction

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge E. Avetisyan

April 2, Hall 6, at 11:00

16

Jehovah’s Witnesses v. Armenian Public TV

Compensation for slandering and defaming the honor, dignity and
business reputation, retraction and publication of court verdict

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge S. Tadevosyan

March 30, Hall 8, at 12:00

17

Margarit Khachatryan v Hraparak daily

Retraction of April 21, 2011 page one article and compensation for
incurred damages.

Kentron and Nork-Marash District Court in Yerevan

Judge S. Tadevosyan

March 9, Hall 8, at 10:00

18

“Arrhythmology Cardiology Center” v news.am

To defend the honor, dignity and business reputation

Ajapnyak and Davtashen District Court

Judge M. Hartenyan,

March 1, Hall 4

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