Snares to amendments to be proposed to the RA Law on Mass Media

On February 15, the amendments and the addenda being proposed to the law on Mass Media were debated during the working discussion organized in parliament. The experts of the sphere Vahan Hovsepyan and Grigor Saghyan and the specialists from the RA Ministry of Hi-Tech Industry were invited.

The co-author of the draft law Artur Hovhannisyan, who is also a former journalist, together with the deputies of the NA My Step Faction Hamazasp Danielyan. Hayk Konjoryan, Sargis Khandanyan, Vahagn Hovakimyan and Taguhi Ghazaryan proposes to regulate the mass media, banning the media to issue information quoting anonymous sources.

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An important note: by the adoption of the draft law the issuance of the news with unknown origin will not be banned – the quoting of their anonymous sources and their advertisement by that will not be banned. According to substantiation, the spreading of the sources with unknown origin through quoting them can cause threatening risks to the national security.

The member of the NGO Board of the Internet Society, the Secretary of the Internet Management Board Grigor Saghyan thinks that the draft law is disputable, as the regulations can give much more harm, than use. The member of the NGO Board of the Internet Society Vahan Hovsepyan agreed with this viewpoint.

Grigor Saghyan has proposed to review the definitions existing in the draft law and specify the ‘physical person’ notion, if it is mass media. According to the expert’s observation, one shall also specify how it is possible to identify the given physical person in the event, if it is a mass media, and how it will be connected with the law on Protection of Personal Data. The adoption of the draft law is controversial in this form, as the term ‘network channel’ lacks in the RA legislation, it is also not distinct, what we shall understand saying ‘domain.’ Grigor Saghyan has noted that often the telephone numbers and the electronic mails are wrong, and it is not possible to clarify their authenticity. There is also one more problem: the websites simply can remove ‘am’ from the domain and enter into ‘com’, thus coming out from control.

The experts proposed to hold parliamentary hearings to reform the draft law, and the authors considered it admissible.

National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia

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