It is Time to Act Instead of Speaking
12.09.2014
12:00
“Until the authorities act instead of speaking, such incidents will happen again” said Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression.
Melikyan was only one of several present who spoke on the violence act against Marine Khachatryan, journalist at A1+. The other speakers included Suren Deheryan, Head of “Journalists for the Future” NGO, and Tigran Yegoryan, lawyer, “Europe in Law association” NGO.

The media community must be more consistent

In order to ensure the right to freedom of speech, as well as to prevent any acts of violence against journalists, Tigran Yegoryan believes it is necessary for the media community and more broadly, civil society to be consistent and apply to local courts and to the European Court of Human Rights if need be.

“Consistency is a must even if it breaks to the wall at first, said Yegoryan.” “All developed countries have had this journey and we must do it.”

He also noted that if society regularly exerts pressure on unlawful authorities, such authorities will sooner or later get what they deserve.

With respect to the necessary consistency, Suren Deheryan added that journalists’ attitudes should drastically change.

“It should be stopped,” said Deheryan. “Mass media must actively cover such events. Journalists and society must stand up for their rights, rallies must be held because it an instance of forcing the public to be silent. Instead of posts as “OMG, what’s happened?” on social networks, we need actions.”

Every authority must know the Law on Mass Media

Security guards, as Deheryan mentioned, must learn more about the role and responsibilities of mass media. In this regard, Ashot Melikyan stated that upon assuming a job, authorities must take an exam on their knowledge of the Law on Mass Media.

“An authority must know the information open to the public as provided in the law,” said Deheryan. “It is high time that those who want to have high positions in the state sector or parties took a test on communication with journalists. If they can’t communicate with journalists and mass media, they evidently are not mature enough to venture into politics or assume a high position.”

Silence is impossible

Ashot Melikyan is doubtful that the prosecutor will respond to their announcement. The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression protects journalists’ rights at courts as well.

“Silence is impossible,” said Melikyan. “We all see what trial proceedings were held in Any Gevorgyan’s case and what a cynical decision the SIS made. We are determined to be consistent.”

The speakers also discussed journalistic solidarity. Deheryan emphasized the importance of supporting any journalist who has ever suffered violent acts. “The whole society must stand up since even an attempt to limit freedom of speech means to shut up the public.”

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