Online Media Coverage of Legal Issues

From 1 February to 30 April, 2019, online media coverage of legal issues was in the spotlight of “Media Advocate” initiative. 34 leading news agencies have been monitored. The articles were selected through international analytical programs.

3 categories were selected: News / Analysis / Opinion

In addition, the materials have also been segmented as negative / positive / neutral

The articles that do not contain legal arguments and are not comprehensive are negative, the ones that include legal justification are positive and finally those with versatile coverage and containing information that does not favor any side are neutral.

Attention has been focused on the articles and topics that have received publicity or have been part of political processes.

During the specified period, 29518 articles were monitored.

The graph (See gr. 1) illustrates the image obtained by combining the results of selected categories and segments. The chart represents the X and Y coordinate axis, where the horizontal coordinate is the segment (positive / negative / neutral), and the vertical one is the category (news / analysis / opinion). During the calculations positive and analytic identifiers were marked with (+), negative and comment (-) signs, neutral and news with (0) number.

From the results of the monitoring, one can conclude that criminal and civil cases that have become a subject of scandal and public discussion during this three-month period, are mainly related with politics and political figures. Former government representatives claim that political persecution is under way against the second president: they consider Robert Kocharyan a political prisoner. There is also a case against Robert Kocharyan’s son, Sedrak Kocharyan, who filed a lawsuit against the National Security Service (NSS) in his turn. It turns out that both sides bear a responsibility.

Manvel Grigoryan’s case is quite interesting. According to the news, after setting Manvel Grigoryan free, based on a signature bond, Nikol Pashinyan had to face the public pressure and Manvel Grigoryan again appeared at the penitentiary. Experts and family members argue that Manvel Grigoryan’s health condition is serious, but the court periodically rejects the lawsuits of lawyers for changing the preventive measure, though, some people under investigation are being released during the same period. All this does not go unnoticed by the media, causing relevant questions.

Recently, the discussions on the generals Mikayel Harutyunyan and Mihran Poghosyan have intensified. Mikayel Harutyunyan is a Russian citizen which means that he is so somehow insured․ Mihran Poghosyan is arrested and discussions are being held for moving him to Armenia. Along with the arrest of Mihran Poghosyan, Facebook started recalling Arthur Vanetsyan’s telephone conversation with the head of the Special Investigation Service, Sasun Khachatyan and the Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan. They are accused of applying pressures on judges.

If the aforementioned cases are related to the former authorities, the following cases to be presented are the proofs of the internal issues of the current government. The political force that came to power with promises to eradicate corruption is at the center of corruption scandals at this time. Minister Torosyan reported against the State Control Service (SCS). According to that report, Samvel Adyan, the head of Procurement Supervision Department, was arrested. Then the SCS head Davit Sanasaryan, was also involved as a defendant in the case, who does not admit his guilt. According to the news, Samvel Adyan was released to testify against David Sanasaryan.

Corruption scandal was also linked with the Ministry of Health and the Deputy Minister, Arsen Davtyan was arrested. He is also accused of committing large-scale corruption schemes. The press finds it strange that Minister Arsen Torosyan has not been not aware of that corruption mechanism.

It is clear from the graph that the coverage of legal issues is poorly done, and there is no positive change yet. Although it should be noted that there is a big difference between the first month of the monitoring and the third month, and the media often refer to the law and provide arguments.


It turns out that former and current authorities are at the forefront of corruption scandals and criminal cases. Within the framework of these criminal cases, all sides can not be right as if there is a defalcation report, it means that either the funds have been misappropriated or there was a false denunciation.

P.S. The “Media Advocate” initiative will continue to focus on the events; in particular, any encroachment and biased approach to freedom of expression will be harshly assessed.