OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, today expressed concern regarding reports that Armenia’s Special Investigative Service launched a criminal case against Kristine Khanumian, editor of Ilur.am news portal, on charges of deliberate failure to comply with a court order.
The case follows a court decision of 26 June 2014 in which two media outlets, the Hraparak newspaper and Ilur.am news portal, were ordered to disclose their confidential sources. The Representative issued a public statement about the order on 22 July 2014 saying that it might have a chilling effect on media.
“Members of the media should not be held liable for publishing or disseminating information of public interest,” Mijatović wrote in a letter today to Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian. “Unless information is legitimately classified as secret on the grounds of precisely defined national security concerns or protection of other overriding interests, the state should ensure full protection against any legal or administrative sanctions related to disclosure of the identity of journalists’ sources.
“This principle is one of the basic requirements for the existence of independent journalism and free media,” Mijatović said.
Mijatović expressed hope that law enforcement authorities would dismiss the case against Khanumian.