On January 21, 2013, the Information Disputes Council released an opinion on the suit of Vanadzor resident Mariam Yepremian versus “MIG” TV company of Vanadzor and founder of “News.am” online agency, “News.am” LLC. The reason of the suit was the video materials about the death of Mariam Yepremian’s husband on 13 March, 2012 as he was run down in Vanadzor. The abovementioned media outlets also placed the videos on YouTube. Both of the videos showed the corpse of the death, which the plaintiff considered insulting. Mariam Yepremian demanded the court to bind the respondents with removing the videos from the Internet and impose 500,000 AMD (about $ 1,200) on each of them as moral loss compensation. The suit was taken into consideration by the Lori Court of General Jurisdiction on October 8, 2012; the hearings started on November 15, 2012 and are still pending.
The IDC mentioned that the plaintiff has applied to the Court more than 6 months following the publication of the disputable materials. Therefore, the term for the limitation of court actions is expired. As far as the video materials are concerned, showing a corpse, especially immediately after the incident, is an added psychological trauma and deepens the pain of relatives. Referring to the June 14, 2007 ruling of the European Court on Human Rights on the case of Hachette Filipacchi Associes vs. France, the IDC noted that this is an intervention into private life, which is a ground for limiting the right to freely disseminate information. Thus, the question is whether the public interest to receive information can prevail over the right of respect to private and family life. The IDC stressed that the publication of a photo or video of a person, who died as a result of accident, crime or suicide, is a gross intervention to the right to family and private life of the relatives of the deceased, and is not necessary in a democratic society.
According to the IDC, to an extent that upholding of the demanded monetary means would not hamper the smooth operation of the media, the compensation claim is proportionate.
The full opinion of the Information Disputes Council is available in Armenian and in English at http://www.ypc.am/expert/ln/eng.