The freedom of opinion and the presumption of innocence: How to find a balance

Karen Ghazaryan
Public Radio of Armenia

The interrelations between the Prosecutor’s Offices and mass media were discussed during the 8th plenary meeting of Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) held in Yerevan today.

Delegations from about 40 countries, representatives of the Council of Europe arrived in Yerevan to participate in the sitting. The project of the opinion N 8 discussed at the plenary sitting is mostly related to the fundamental human and civil rights and freedoms – right to speech, to freedom, including the requirement of providing the accomplishment of freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. The document also sets the structural orders to organize the prosecution activity publicly, transparently and efficiently.

The document is called to ensure the parity between the independent, unbiased and public justice on one hand and the freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by the Article 10 of Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, mass media function – to inform the society about the process of the investigation of the case, as well as the presumption of innocence, the rights to fair trial and to respect for private and family life guaranteed by the Articles 6 and 8 of the Convention, on the other hand.

Armenian Prosecutor General Gevorg Kostanyan noted in his opening speech that the regulation of relations with mass media is of great importance. “The systematized regulation of interrelation with mass media in the process of formation of public opinion on prosecution activity, strengthening the trust resource, public support to criminal policy is very important to us,” he said.

“The provision of this balance is necessary for one general purpose, that is, for absolute provision of human rights and fundamental freedoms,’’ the Prosecutor General stated.

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