New York, June 19, 2008—The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that Armenia’s repeated denials of a broadcasting license to the independent A1+ television station violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. According to the verdict, the Armenian government must pay the station 20,000 euros (US$31,000) in damages.
Famous for its criticism of Armenian authorities, A1+ was forced off the air in 2002 when the National Committee on Television and Radio—a regulatory body whose members are directly appointed by the president—awarded the station’s frequency to another company. Since then, the agency has repeatedly rejected A1+ applications for a broadcasting license—moves widely viewed as retaliation for the station’s journalism. When local courts dismissed A1+ appeals as unfounded, station owner Mesrop Movsesyan filed an appeal with the Strasbourg-based court in 2004.
Restrictions imposed as president declares emergency
New York, March 3, 2008—Armenian authorities should immediately lift restrictions on independent news reporting and the censorship of independent news Web sites, steps imposed when President Robert Kocharian declared a state of emergency on Saturday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Kocharian declared a 20-day state of emergency after clashes between government troops and opposition supporters in the capital, Yereven, resulted in eight deaths and more than 100 injuries, according to international press reports. Protesters claimed that vote-rigging marred the February 19 presidential election that ended in victory for Kocharian’s hand-picked successor, Serzh Sarkisian. Hundreds of troops were deployed in Yerevan to clamp down on the demonstrations. The state of emergency also banned public gatherings, set travel restrictions, and gave police expanded search powers, according to international news accounts.
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