The General Prosecutor's Office of Armenia. Photo: © Official site of the Prosecutor General's office of RA

06 July 2022, 10:58

Armenian rights defenders treat offer to control Internet as threat to freedom of speech

The Armenia's General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) has come up with an initiative to create a control body for information flows like the Russian "Roskomnadzor" (Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media). In this way, authorities seek to obtain tools for persecuting the dissent and restricting the freedom of speech, the human rights defenders interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" believe.

Arthur Davtyan, the GPO head, has offered to the Armenian government to discuss and develop some mechanisms for ensuring information security and control over information flows, while observing the guarantees of the constitutional right to the freedom of speech.

Authorities intend to create a censorship body that will be given broad powers for unreasonable interference with the freedom of speech, said Shushan Doidoyan, the director of the Freedom of Information Centre.

She has noted that "in the GPO's initiative there are no clear explanations of what exactly and how they will regulate and control. It is unacceptable. Another matter if some mechanism could be proposed to increase responsibility in social networks in order to stop the hate speech or propaganda of violence," Ms Doidoyan has explained.

Ashot Melikyan, a human rights defender and the head of the Committee for the Protection of the Freedom of Speech, has noted that the GPO's statement fails to explain what problems are not covered by the current legislation, and what new norms are proposed to solve them.

"The mere mentioning of 'Roskomnadzor' is already causing serious concern. This is the worst example of an attempt to regulate the Internet. The creation of such a body in Armenia is unacceptable. Russia is not the country that Armenia should look up to in terms of the freedom of speech and the freedom of the Internet," Mr Melikyan told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 6, 2022 at 04:30 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Tigran Petrosyan Source: CK correspondent

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