World Press Day: Censorship is harmful, even in time of war

Samvel Martirosyan (Photo: Photolure)

In war, journalists should be allow to report sensitive information, the disclosure of which, is in the public interest, said Samvel Martirosyan, an information security expert and blogger, at a press conference dedicated to World Press Freedom Day.

In the period following the four-day war sparked in April, there was some debate on whether media platforms and social networks should be censored. Martirosyan disagrees with the idea.

“It is not just the army that should dictate what should be published and what should not. The journalistic community also has to defend their rights,” he said.

Martirosyan, as an example, referred to Azerbaijan and its media censorship.

“Our neighboring country does not allow information on anything negative in the army to be leaked. The number of victims they have [officially published] until now is 33, whereas the activity of Meydan TV, which was the only media that dared to publish real figures on the victims, has been shut down. I do not think that we have to choose the path of keeping everything in secret,” he said.

Martirosyan said that the army should speak more to prevent the spread of misinformation.

“Of course, fewer events are taking place now than during the four-day war, but people psychologically are still in a tense situation, and information, which even says that nothing is happening at the line of contact, is also important,” he said, adding that whenever the army is silent, no official sources start to speak to fill the information gap.