In advance of Joining the Eurasian Economic Union: Freedom of Speech and Press
07.10.2014
15:00
With respect to speech and press freedoms, Armenia is in a better situation than Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. But when recalling “such sad cases as the incident with the Russian Ambassador to Armenia Volinkin who taught Armenian authorities how to deal with non-governmental organizations,” it is still possible that Armenia may be forced to limit the freedom of speech.

In advance to Armenia’s possible membership in Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) the Media Center initiates a series of panel discussions and press conferences. Today the Media Center held a panel discussion featuring Levon Barseghyan, president of Asparez Journalists’ Club, Gyumri, and Ashot Melikyan, Chairman of Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression. The panelists discussed the possible impact Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Economic Union can have on freedom of speech and press.

Ashot Melikyan believes that there were made some attempts to limit the freedom of speech in Armenia. Melikyan mentioned the bill on the so-called fake accounts as an example. The bill was eventually turned over due to the efforts of journalistic organizations. Now that the manners adopted in the Eurasian Union come to Armenia, can journalists and the public prevent the adoption of such bills as the bill on fake accounts.

Levon Barseghyan said that nowadays there is censorship in Russia. Thus, the Armenian journalistic community must be as vigilant as ever to avoid the same situation in Armenia.

According to Ashot Melikyan, the functions of the Soviet “Glavlit” are handed down to the Russian “Roskomnadzor”, a body which decides at its discretion to publish or not to publish a material.

Ashot Melikyan considered it possible that the Armenian authorities are imposed to establish such agencies. The journalistic organizations intend to struggle but “we all see how things are done with threatening and violence in totalitarian states. We see it every day and we would not want to these norms and manners to be transferred from the Eurasian to our country.”

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