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Armenian Newspaper Editors Urge Constitutional Court to Suspend Application of Libel Law

Amendments to the RA Civil Code (Article 1087.1) which decriminalized libel have become a tool that prevents freedom of speech and the practical application of constitutional norms to seek, receive and impart information, say editors of 8 Armenian newspapers in a statement issued today.

“Lawsuits are launched with increasing frequency against print media, their main purpose being to suspend newspapers’ activities at the cost of huge fines or to impose internal rules of censorship.

“We, the undersigned editors of newspapers published in Armenia, consider the provisions of RA Civil Code Article 1087.1 and their judicial application to be unconstitutional, their aim being to deprive Armenian citizens of information print alternatives.

“Considering that the Human Rights Defender has appealed to the Constitutional Court with the request to decide whether RA Civil Code Article 1087.1 corresponds to RA Constitution Article 14, Article 27, Section 1, 2 and 3, and Article 43, we urge the Constitutional Court to implement measures to suspend the practical application of the disputed article in the Civil Code prior to making a final decision.

“Let us also emphasize that we are prepared to present concrete proposals to the proper bodies through authorized persons for overcoming the current situation.

“At the same time we declare that irrespective of judicial and other kinds of persecutions, we will remain committed to our professional debt to providing information to readers and will continue to fight for the protection of freedom of speech, as well as the the constitutional right to seek, receive and impart information,” reads the statement signed by the following editors:

Aram Abrahamyan, Aravot
Arman Babajanyan, Jamanak
Anna V. Hakobyan, Haykakan Jamanak
Shogher Matevosyan, Chorrord Inqnishkhanutyun
Armine Ohanyan, Hraparak
Satik Seyranyan, 168 Zham
Taguhi Tovmasyan, Joghovurd
Bagrat Yesayan, Yerkir