National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia

05/03/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/04/2021 02:28

One of the Most Covered Structures - NA Presents “Legislative Body-Mass Media” Relations with Concrete Facts

One of the Most Covered Structures - NA Presents 'Legislative Body-Mass Media' Relations with Concrete Facts

On the occasion of Press Freedom Day, the NA, as one of the most covered structures, presents the 'legislative body - mass media' relations with concrete facts.

In 2021, 255 journalists and operators were accredited in the RA NA from 86 media with total number. The RA NA staff received 130, in 2019 and 107, in 2020 written inquiries. For comparison, we note that the number of written inquiries is 70 in 2017-2018.

The European Parliamentary Assembly was the first which referred to the theme on Press Freedom - setting by the decision of 1 February 1979 yet: 'Democracy can properly act only in case, if the whole nation and the representatives elected by them are completely informed.' The right of being completely informed is now stipulated in the constitutions of almost all states of the world. The key of the legal guarantees of freedom of speech in the RA is the provisions summarized in Article 42 of the Constitution. We present that paragraph of the basic law with all due respect and in full:

1. Everyone shall have the right to freely express his or her opinion. This right shall include freedom to hold own opinion, as well as to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas through any media, without the interference of state or local self-government bodies and regardless of state frontiers.

2. The freedom of the press, radio, television and other means of information shall be guaranteed. The State shall guarantee the activities of independent public television and radio offering diversity of informational, educational, cultural and entertainment programmes.

3. Freedom of expression of opinion may be restricted only by law, for the purpose of state security, protecting public order, health and morals or the honour and good reputation of others and other basic rights and freedoms thereof.

The right of seeking and receiving information is declared by Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10, European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms too. It is also said here that everyone has the right to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas through any mediaand regardless of state frontiers. The RA Law on Freedom of Information was one of the successful steps of the democratic reforms in Armenia.

At present, the activities of the mass media and the journalists in Armenia are regulated by the following laws on Freedom of Information /23.09.2003/, on Mass Media /passed 13.12.2003/, on Copyright and Related Rights /15.06.2006/, and on Audiovisual Media /16.07.2020/.

The right to speak is completely protected in the RA by the abovementioned laws. Any harassment towards the press is punished by Article 164, the RA Criminal Code. Envisaged punishments and fines in case of impeding the legal professional activity of a journalist are as follows:

The RA Criminal Code, Article 164 1. Hindrance to the legal professional activities of a journalist, or forcing the journalist to disseminate information or not to disseminate information, is punished with a fine in the amount of 50-150 minimal salaries, or correctional labor for up to 1 year.

2. The same actions committed by an official abusing one's official position, is punished with correctional labor for up to 2 years, or imprisonment for the term of up to 3 years, by deprivation of the right to hold certain posts or practice certain activities for up to 3 years, or without that.