On December 27, 2012, the Information Disputes Council released an opinion on the court case of Tigran Terterian, student of No.2 high school of Etchmiadzin, versus the founder of “168 Hours” newspaper, “168 Hours” LLC, and its correspondent Marineh Martirosian. As we have reported, the reason for the civil action was the article, “Director Sued the Ministry of Education and Science”, published by “168 Hours” on May 26-27, 2011. The article told the story about the dismissal of the School’s Head, Susanna Nazarian that had provoked public attention. It presented critical opinions about the director, such as “according to the residents of Etchmiadzin, the son of the former director has set the school’s document archive on fire, lately”. The plaintiff demanded refuting the information, discrediting their honor and dignity, and 2 mln AMD (about $ 5,200), as compensation for the damage caused by defamation. On July 15, 2011, the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan took the lawsuit into consideration. The hearings started on November 8, 2011. On April 13, 2012 the Court draw-out the suit of Tigran Terterian as unjustified.
According to the Information Disputes Council, since the contested material, reporting about the arson of the school’s document archive by Tigran Terterian, lacks any factual data, it is not realistic to provide any objective legal assessment. Thus, the IDC believes that the court should have clarified whether the information was based on facts or on abstract hypotheses. The court’s conclusion on the present case, according to which the journalist used the information received from the public, and is thus exempt from any liability, runs counter the clarifications of the RA Cassation Court about the proper source of information, the IDC stresses. The reference to “the residents of Etchmiadzin” used in this article is vague, and such a “position” may allow for publication of any information about a person, the IDC notes.
The full opinion of the Information Disputes Council is available in Armenian and in English at https://ypcnew.vecto.it/expert/ln/eng.