Arman Gharibyan, Co-founder of “Human Rights Power” NGO, said this during the press conference at Media Center on November 17, presenting the research findings conducted by their organization.
“We, journalists, are always in the front row when a person's right is violated, but unfortunately, when it comes to our rights, we are not as enthusiastic,” Gharibyan said.
For the purpose of the research, international legal practice (United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc.) and international practice have been studied and compared with the Armenian legislation and practice.
“The presence of journalists is internationally accepted both on paper and in practice. Of course, international documents do not address the choice of journalists' tools but this in turn means that journalists are free to choose their tools and can work according to their news outlet interests,” Arman Gharibyan said.
Quoting the recommendation of Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2003, Gharibyan highlighted the right of journalists to cover the activities of the criminal justice system. Approach is the same like in the cases of administrative and civil proceedings.
“As a result of the international experience analysis, we came to the conclusion that the world takes into account the development of humanity, technology and information technology and becomes more open, so Armenia should not go beyond these developments. The more public and transparent the court session is, the more we can expect that we will have a fair verdict for which democratic societies are seeking,” Gharibyan said.
“Human Rights Power” NGO conducted in-depth interviews and online surveys with journalists covering court sessions to assess the overall situation in Armenia.
“During the in-depth interviews, journalists underlined three main issues: banning photographing and video recording, time limitation, as well as technical barriers. There were even cases when the judge said “my hair style is bad today, do not shoot” and forbid the journalists to record the court hearing,” Gharibyan mentioned adding that this is an ungrounded and non-professional approach.
He notes that online surveys also point out that there is a need for legislative reforms in this area.
Gharibyan came up with recommendations that were addressed to the Ministry of Justice and the judiciary bodies.
At the end of the press conference, he urged journalists and media outlets covering court sessions to consistently cover and raise the existing problems.
Lilit Arakelyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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