Source Protection: Constitutional Court reaffirms media rights in landmark appeal

Source Protection: Constitutional Court reaffirms media rights in landmark appeal

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The Armenian Constitutional Court (CC) on Tuesday ruled that media do not have to disclose their confidential sources of information unless the court order concerns a heavy crime or the need to protect an individual.

Lawyers Artak Zeynalyan and Ara Ghazaryan, who appealed a number of controversial court verdicts demanding that Armenian media disclose their sources of information or face criminal charges, told journalists they were satisfied with the decision.

They said they will now seek revisions of a number of related cases at the Court of Cassation.

The most infamous of the cases concerns the court’s ordering the editor of the pro-opposition news website Ilur.am to disclose the confidential source of a June 2014 report that accused a senior Armenian police officer of assaulting two young men, including a world wrestling champion, outside Gyumri.

Kristine Khanumyan as well as the editor of another publication, “Hraparak”, risked up to two years in prison for defying a court order after the Special Investigative Service (SIS) opened proceedings against them.

The SIS’s decision sparked an outcry from local and international media watchdogs and the prosecutor-general in July ordered that the charges be dropped.