Armenia’s National Assembly today continued hearing the bill on making amendments and addenda to the Civil Code, widely known as ‘Law on Fakes.’
“This is an attempt to stifle democracy and make the freedom of speech a tool in the hands of the regime,” says opposition MP Alexander Arzumanyan.
The authors of the draft bill disagree with the opponents. Republican MP Arpine Hovhannisyan believes that if adopted the law will allow regulating the sector. Another Republican lawmaker Margarit Yesayan says the bill is exclusive in the sense that it will help monitor and control the Internet.
“The Internet is new for us; we have a problem with freedom of speech,” she said.
Levon Barseghyan, Chairman of Gyumri-based Asparez Journalists’ Club, says he understood the motivations of the bill after a two-month study.
“The authors of the bill want to regulate the sector of gossips. No one has been able to regulate the sphere so far. If someone is able to handle it, he would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,” he said.
The parliamentarians who drafted the amendments say their goal is to combat the spread of defamatory or insulting comments online, which is being encouraged by online anonymity.