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Mounting concern about press freedom in Armenia

first_imgArmenia is ranked 79th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, five places lower than in the 2016 Index. April 6, 2018 Mounting concern about press freedom in Armenia News April 9, 2021 Find out more Organisation Help by sharing this information to go further Credit: Karen Minasyan / AFP Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” Follow the news on Armenia June 8, 2021 Find out more Receive email alertscenter_img RSF_en ArmeniaEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesMedia independence Judicial harassmentViolenceFreedom of expression News November 11, 2020 Find out more Russian peacekeepers deny foreign reporters access to Nagorno-Karabakh News As Armen Sarkissian, the first Armenian president to elected by parliament, prepares to take office on 9 April, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that halting the decline in media freedom will be a major task facing Armenia’s government.“We are disturbed by the downward trend in respect for press freedom in Armenia and we urge parliament to reconsider recent legislative initiatives reducing the right of access to information and obstructing journalists’ work,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “The authorities must also conduct full and impartial investigations into acts of violence against journalists and end impunity for such acts.”Right to information threatenedRSF is concerned about a series of legislative initiatives reducing journalists’ access to information in the public interest, the latest of which keep reporters away from the places where the authorities take decisions.Under legislative amendments passed by parliament on 23 March, without prior discussion with the journalistic community, government ministers will no longer be able to give interviews without the prime minister’s permission, and reporters will not normally be allowed to attend government meetings, including cabinet meetings, which will be held behind closed doors.A local government law approved the same day included a surprise, last-minute amendment that deprives journalists of access to the city hall in the capital, Yerevan. They will be restricted to a separate press centre and will not be able to attend municipal council meetings without the mayor’s prior authorization.The amendment was added to the law at its second reading, and its hasty adoption is attributed to an incident at a municipal council meeting in February, when reporters were able to provide live TV coverage of municipal officials and ruling party members using violence against an opposition representative.In 2017, media and civil society representatives campaigned against a law proposed by the justice ministry restricting access to state-held information. Its provisions were much less liberal than those in place for the past 14 years. In a bid to defuse tension, the bill’s adoption was postponed for six months in December, but local NGOs are still calling for it to be scrapped or for a proper process of consultation.The lack of consultation is a recurring problem. Journalists did not learn about major amendments to the law on protection of personal data until two months after their adoption in early 2017. The amendments impose drastic curbs on the media’s ability to gather and publish personal information, forcing them to obtain the consent of the persons concerned, regardless of their status.By eliminating the exemption that journalists previously enjoyed, the law now contradicts Armenia’s media law, which allows the publication of information about a person’s family and private life if a public interest is served. Investigative reporting is now endangered because public figures could sue journalists for revealing personal information even if the journalists were investigating corruption, for example.Rising violence, continuing impunityThe number of attacks on media personnel has increased in recent years and at least 17 journalists were the victims of violence in 2017.The 2017 parliamentary election campaign was the most fraught period. Shoghik Galstyan and Hayk Petrosyan of the news website Araratnews.am and Sisak Gabrielyan of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Armenian service were attacked near the headquarters of one of the candidates in Yerevan on election day itself.Three other journalists were previously the victims of violence during the election campaign, while several journalists were threatened and prevented from covering the voting.Surge in defamation suitsLast year also saw a big surge in the number of legal actions against journalists and media outlets. A total of 60 lawsuits were filed in 2017, more than three times the 2016 total of 17, and more than at any time since defamation was decriminalized in 2010.No fewer than 30 complaints were brought in March 2017 alone against Daniel Ioannisyan, the founder of the fact-checking website Sut.am and an NGO called the Union of Informed Citizens. None of the cases prospered in court. News ArmeniaEurope – Central Asia Condemning abusesMedia independence Judicial harassmentViolenceFreedom of expression RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijanlast_img read more

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More details emerge from Council’s first Mica Redress Committee meeting

first_img By News Highland – February 20, 2020 More details emerge from Council’s first Mica Redress Committee meeting Google+ WhatsApp Twitter Facebook Pinterest FT Report: Derry City 2 St Pats 2 Donegal County Council’s Mica Redress Committee has met today for the first time.Members were told that the scheme will be a 3 stage process for affected homeowners.However, no time frame has been given as to when the local authority can accept applications as they are still awaiting guidelines from the Department.Initially, homeowners will submit an application for eligibility and if approved, a written confirmation of eligibility will be issued by the council.On receipt of letter the process will move to stage 2 – application for grant approval. This requires a quotation from an engineer and a contractor as well as evidence that all tax affairs are in order, including LPT.If approved, the local authority will issue in writing ‘Confirmation of Grant Approval’.Stage 3 will be payment of grant which will cover 90% of the actual costs.The maximum grant available will be €275,000.As remedial works progress, the relevant property owner will be eligible to apply for grant payments which can go towards engineers and contractors costs.Homeowners are advised that remedial works must not commence before written eligibility is received otherwise funding will not be granted.The council is still awaiting final guidelines from the Department which will detail what funding will be made available for Donegal this year and when affected homeowners can apply.Committee member Councillor Liam Blaney says it was hoped more information would be made available today, he fears however, that it’s as far back as ever:Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/blaneymica.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Twitter Journey home will be easier – Paul Hegarty Pinterestcenter_img Harps come back to win in Waterford Previous articleClonmany chasing medals at World IndoorsNext articleDerry City v Finn Harps Preview News Highland Google+ WhatsApp News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th DL Debate – 24/05/21 Derry draw with Pats: Higgins & Thomson Reaction AudioHomepage BannerNews Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img read more

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