On the 2nd of March with the efforts of the deputies from the ruling coalition the Armenian Parliament adopted lawyer Karen Andreasyan at the post of Ombudsman. He is better known as the host of “In fact” TV program. The opposition newspapers describe him as the hangman of free media, the author of the draft on decriminalization of Clause on Defamation (information injuring a person’s good name or reputation) in the Criminal Code.
I am not trying to defend Karen Andreasian (I believe he doesn’t need it). I would only like to say that in my mind everyone who is elected Armenian Ombudsman will become a target for the opposition and partly for authorities, since I can’t find an appropriate candidate for the post of Ombudsman who will satisfy everybody in our society that suffers from pathological distrust.
As for Karen Andreasian, I know him as the head of a law firm that rendered legal assistance to many people free of charge. I have also learned from reliable sources that Andreasian has taken part in the elaboration of the law “On Freedom of Information” which could have and still can become a fierce weapon in the hands of the society and the journalists in particular. I should also add that his public organization together with the European Journalism Center has for several years conducted game-workshops on journalistic investigation for the students of faculties of journalism of Armenian universities, and the winners were awarded precious prizes as well as passed training in Maastricht.
As for the decriminalization of the Clause on Defamation and Slander, if any of my colleagues wants to brighten up his life by barbwires by all means I would recommend that they should appeal to other effective means envisaged by the Criminal Code of Armenia.
David Alaverdian is the Chief Editor of Mediamax.