The Prosecutor’s Office Discovered The Internet And Wants To Create A Ministry Of Censorship

Samvel Martirosyan

Media researcher

A few days ago, I was informed that “the Department of State Interests Protection of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Armenia, through a study conducted in the field of protection of non-property interests of the state, found out that in recent years, in the conditions of the wide spread of the Internet, national, religious, sexual or other discrimination has become widespread on Internet sites, social networks, as well as the distribution of materials prohibited for circulation in the RA, including drug advertisements, or information containing an open invitation to sell or other criminal manifestations.” 

It is a very long, dramatic sentence. One can even say that this is a revelation. But there are deeper and unexpected discoveries. 

“The study of domestic legislation revealed that the security of information disseminated through widely visible Internet resources is not guaranteed from a legal point of view in RA, there are no legal regulations, and no single body is empowered to exercise control over the security of information and to take measures arising from it.” 

And now, if we present all this in human language, then the outgoing prosecutor general or the new prosecutor general (to be honest, I have a hard time understanding which one decided to do such stupid things in this transitional phase, the outgoing one or the incoming one) is suggesting to implement censorship on the Internet. The Russian Roskomnadzor (Sic!) is cited as the best example of such an approach. 

And now let’s understand what all this means. 

It is unclear why the prosecutor’s office has now discovered that the Internet exists, where one can, for example, curse or sell drugs. And the prosecutor’s office offers to fight against all this. 

Roskomnadzor is presented by the prosecutor’s office as the best example of international experience and suggests following its glorious example. 

Let me mention a little nuance. I know of no public discussion about this proposal. In general, recently the government considers that if something is placed in an e-draft, it already implies a public discussion. I assume that this time everything will move in this way. In other words, there will be no public discussion. 

And now let me tell you what consequences all this will have. 

If we follow the path of Russia, then from the beginning, a fight against narcotics and suicide calls on the Internet will be announced. And then one fine day we will discover that the state is engaged in blocking. Moreover, mainly of a political nature. 

Narcotics are no longer relevant because there will be no way to fight against them in this way. But it is possible to block political dissent. And for every unauthorized sneeze, websites will be closed. 

In the name of this fight against windmills, huge amounts of money will be written off for Armenia. Because if you decide to do the job well, it implies serious expenses at the level of internet infrastructure. Not to mention that we have to feed a hungry army of censors at the expense of our taxes. 

The worst thing is that all this will not work. No way. 

In the same way that the criminalization of seriously offending someone, which was abolished again, did not help. 

Instructive conclusion:

It was the fifth century. Before Christ. Xerxes the Great was greatly upset during the Greek invasions when a storm disrupted his plans. And he ordered the bastard sea to be whipped. And, they say, Shahenshah’s heart grew cold. 

Samvel Martirosyan 

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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