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June 21, 2011
Beauty and Misery of Public Activity or Arzaqantsyan against "Yerkir"
By Nane Makuchyan
Beauty and Misery of Public Activity or Arzaqantsyan against "Yerkir"
The MP is going to Court of Appeal

During a seminar-discussion that took place recently in Yerevan was argumented that public figures should be more tolerant towards criticizm than "simple mortals" as they have chosen their public way of activity volunteerly which focuses attention of other people including journalists.

And what's the picture in Armenia? People who consider themselves as public figures one after another "insulted and defamed" knock on courts' doors without realizing that they can leave the court halls even more discredited.

It's hard to say what makes them act like this. But it is a fact that many of them have problems accepting critisizm in the course of their public activity. Moreover, very often they hurry to sue media without even understanding the meaning of the insulting word putting themselves in an unprofitable situations risking their honor and reputation.

For instance, the republican MP Tigran Arzaqantsyan's case, who sued the "Yerkir" daily in March for isulting, defaming, violating his dingity and honor. The MP, who is also the owner of the "Great Valley" company producing vine and brandy, demanded 3 million AMD as compensation.

Only Mr. Arzaqantsyan knows what he gained in the course of the processing (not counting 288.000 AMD which is minimal for him). Did he enjoy the judge's detailed explanations of word-building and calls on accepting his origins.

For example, there was a necessity to explain the meaning of the word "stilyag" ("dandy") which insulted Arzaqanyan. With the help of dictionaries it was proved that the word has a positive meaning, even honoring, as it means "fashionable", "stylish". Or the MP was "persuaded" that speaking his native dialect is not a shame (there are plenty of examples in the court decision that the MP used his native Gavar dialect in public speeches).

Recently one of the media outlets has written about Arzaqantsyan under a headline "What diploma do Armenian MPs posses?". "Tigran Arzaqantsyan, also from the Republican Party, does not have a higher education either. He graduatied from the veterinary-cattle technical school after Kamo in 1984. He's a technician-veterinarian. And, attention, please, honorary doctor of international business. History does not know where and how he gained that title."

Other judgements of the court are not profitable for the MP either. For instance, the judge refused to define as defamation the expressions which say that the MP "brings beuatiful women on his plane," "he is famous as a constant casino visitor," "he has a habit of being beaten," "he was beaten and every time after being beaten..." "during the last session only once was present in the National Assembly."

Anyway, the court decided to surcharge the "Yerkir" daily by only 200.000 AMD for insulting Arzaqantsyan by the word "lakot" ("brat"), 80.000 AMD for attorney costs and 8.000 AMD for judicial. Also the "Yerkir" daily was obliged to publish the court decision.


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