The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) have joined their affiliate, the Union of Journalists of Armenia (UJA), in urging the Armenian parliament not to take up the proposal on insult and defamation that aims to increase fines for publishing insults and defamatory comments in the media and social networks, the EFJ noted in a statement.
The deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Alen Simonyan, proposed the bill to amend the civil code. The proposal aims to increase compensation for insult or defamation by five times, bringing damages for an insult from one million Armenian drams to five million drams (nearly 9,000€), and for defamation from 2 million drams to ten million drams (about 18,000 Euro).
Then the EFJ has quoted the respective statement of UJA, which says: “This initiative is yet another tool of the incumbent authorities aimed at restricting free speech in general, and freedom of the press in particular. Taking into consideration the pivotal role that the media plays in disseminating information regarding issues of public concern in a democratic society, we condemn any such initiative, including the bill on making an amendment to the relevant Article of the Civil Code that was proposed by Alen Simonyan, today, and urge not to include the bill in the agenda of the National Assembly.”