Journalists’ activity on social networks is under the magnifying glass. Many of them, as a rule, have many followers and a stable audience. Journalists’ Facebook posts may become topic for discussion in editorial meetings. There was no precedent for a lawsuit filed against a journalist for a post they have made on a social networking site in Armenia. The first is a lawsuit filed by news.am against Sona Harutyunyan, a journalist from 1in.am, which became an opportunity to talk about the freedom of journalists on social networks.
David Alaverdyan, Editor-in-Chief of Mediamax
Mediamax has a social network policy, but our journalists and other employees are not a part of it. Mediamax is solely responsible for the information published on its official pages. Only the director and editor-in-chief can express an opinion or perspective in the name of the media outlet, and in specific cases, specially authorized persons.
Our journalists are free to express their opinions on their pages which do not coincide with the official viewpoints of Mediamax.
We also do not impose our staff to spread or materials on their social networking sites. We have journalists who do not even post their own authored articles on their Facebook pages.
Instead, we take no responsibility for their personal opinions, and using this opportunity, I want to ask readers not to identify the opinions expressed by our employees with the official viewpoints of Mediamax.
I think filing a lawsuit for a post on social media is normal, if the post contains an insult or defamation.
The internet, and especially social networks, has turned into a hate speech platform where, often hiding under the mask of fake users, many abuse the freedom of speech, while being convinced of their impunity.
Whether it’s a journalist, or simply a user, you need to understand the value of words. Otherwise freedom of speech will turn into anarchy of speech.
Vahagn Tevosyan, Public Television Information Service Director
We, as such, do not have a special social network policy, except the norms of universal journalistic and human ethics. Journalists of Public Television news are guided by these norms in their everyday work.
I have not noticed , that the right to have an opinion can have somewhat strictly subjective manifestations on social media, although a few exceptions have been met. In such cases, I talk to the staff so i can explain the difference between these two phenomena.
During the revolution, it was a more forgivable phenomenon, also referring to the psychological state of the person, however in general, one should be responsible for their words.
Anna Israyelyan, Editor-in-Chief of Aravot.am
We have a common ethical code that regulates the relations between journalists’ social networks and Aravot’s.
Aravot’s journalists should abstain from appearing on social networks with posts that can be perceived as bias and show preference.
Aravot’s journalists should also realize that any content related to them on social networks is equivalent to what appears in the newspaper or on the website under their authorship.
Lusine Barseghyan, Editor of Armtimes.com
Armtimes has no social networking policy. We have only regulated journalists’ work on the website and newspaper, which implies that they are banned from swearing, insulting and misinformation, as well as publishing unreliable information in our news outlet.
As for their freedom of expression on social networks, I must say that this is their personal space, and the case against Sona Harutyunyan is absurd.
However, I always tell our journalists not to forget where they work.