The Dangers Of Using Drones

Gayane Asryan


News websites have begun to use drones more often in their work. During mass events, it has become an important tool, especially for mass media outlets.

Drone recordings are also used for investigative materials.

The use of this new journalistic tool often raises questions about the protection of private property, aviation security constraints.

Drones in private areas

Hetq is one of the Armenian news outlets which use drones. Some of the investigative materials include birds-eye-view shots. They are used more for presentation than for fact-checking.  

The website’s journalist, Tirayr Muratyan said, that the outlet has a drone, however, they use it for collecting shots only when necessary, when the material requires shot from large scale lands, water reservoirs, private houses.

In the case of private houses, according to the journalist, their walls do not allow for attaining a photo by other means, in a way which shows the entire surface of the property. “The line of entry to the personal space ought to be placed in the correct spot. If the property belongs to an ordinary citizen, who is not a public figure, there is no need to approach their property and make it public. If the matter is about the property of a person holding or who has held a spot in public office, then the line that defines the area of persona is very thin.

Tiraryr explains that he takes the pictures in such a way, that the person cannot be identified in the area, that is, the photos are taken and published in such a way that makes it only possible to identify the property.

Shushan Doydoyan, director fo the Freedom of Information Center, said that people who are in the video of a drone recording should not be identified if of course, they aren’t eye-witnesses of public events or developments in spite of themselves.  

The problem is further complicated when recording private areas of production, where, in the past, journalists were banned from taking photos and videos with a camera. Now, when a drone is used, it is impossible to avoid being videotaped, disputes are possible.

Daniel Ionnisyan, Chair of the Union of Informed Citizens NGO, said that videos with drones are permissible in all cases where there is no intention of collecting private, family data.  

The Agency for Personal Data Protection of the Ministry of Justice has developed a guideline on the basic principles and rules of recording videos. According to which, when shooting in private areas, the goal is very important. It should be justified.

Security issues

A drone is a flying machine and can be dangerous for objects and people’s lives. According to Ionnisyan, it is possible to have regulations in the field of aviation security. “Taking into account the security factor we can also think of giving the opportunity to shoot during mass events and rallies, to those professionals who have a license to use drones,” he said.

Theoretically, the drone can be harmed or damaged. Daniel Ionnisyan said that such an incident will be considered a hindrance to a journalist’s professional activities and will operate under the criminal code.

Gayane Asryan

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