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It is proposed to reform legislation regulating media sphere
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The Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport of the National Assembly initiated a public debate on the proposed amendments to the Law on Mass Media and the RA Civil Code. The initiative authored by the Government was elaborated with the participation of the Ministry of Justice, as well as the Freedom House Human Rights Non-Governmental Organization.

The MPs, the representatives of state bodies, international organizations and civil society participated in the debate held on April 29.

With the initiative, an effective system of self-regulation of mass media is introduced in our country, which will make it possible to promote the observance of ethical standards, thereby increasing public trust in the media.

“Different international structures have talked a lot about the system, including the Council of Europe (CoE), which regularly assesses the media sphere in our country. The CoE noted that it is necessary to introduce the mechanism of legislative recognition of mass media self-regulation in Armenia,” the Director at Center for Legislation Development Foundation of the RA Ministry of Justice Tigran Dadunts said, presenting the main amendments proposed by the initiative.

According to the law, mass media will not be forced to self-regulate or become part of any self-regulating structure, but joining the system will be encouraged. It was noted that media activity operators who have joined the self-regulation mechanism and those who have not joined will have the same rights and responsibilities, but not the same opportunities.

“Ultimately, the public will have a public registry, where we will all see which mass media are ready to go that way, to join this or that recognized self-regulatory body or, in the future, the Media Council,” Tigran Dadunts said.

According to him, with the initiative, an attempt is made to review the ‘traditional’ notions about mass media and to bring them into line with the international standards. According to the rapporteur, the characteristics of being considered a mass media were defined in detail, the idea of the intention to carry out news activities was introduced.

Speaking about the formation of the Media Council, it was mentioned that it will be formed by a voluntary association of self-regulatory bodies. According to the rapporteur, the Media Council will be a self-regulating, independent and non-commercial organization.

It was mentioned that the RA Government will try to unite the international partners around the reforms implemented in the sector.

The rapporteur answered the questions of the participants of the debate.

Emphasizing the amendments being made in the field, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Diaspora, Youth and Sport Sisak Gabrielyan pointed out that the initiative is acceptable to the executive and the legislative bodies, as well as the civil society.

The initiative will be debated at the Government meeting after being revised.

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