Vigen Kocharyan: "Manifestations of hate or its propaganda should not exist in a harmonious society"


Today, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia Vigen Kocharyan participated in the seminar/expert discussion on "Freedom of Speech: Where are the Boundaries?" The event held within the scope of the events dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was jointly organised by the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression and the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia.

Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia Arman Tatoyan; Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski; Chairperson of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression Ashot Melikyan; European experts and representatives of civil society and the media also participated in the discussion.

In his speech, Deputy Minister of Justice Vigen Kocharyan noted that Armenia is currently a country of free speech and free media and everyone has the right to freely express his or her opinion which is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for democracy. "Today, we have such a democratic society in which everyone knows his or her rights and can freely exercise them," the Deputy Minister said and, at the same time, considered the cases of manifestation of hate speech as troubling. "Manifestations of hate or its propaganda should not exist in a harmonious society," Vigen Kocharyan said.

The Deputy Minister noted that what is currently particularly troubling is the existence of hate speech on social networks. "The Internet provides us with essentially new tools for communication, public discussions and leisure. However, we should not let it become an online tool for hate propaganda," the Deputy Minister said, expressing confidence that expert discussions will be of great help to identify the problems existing in the sector of the fight against the spread of hate speech and will help to find effective solutions in line with the values of democratic society.

During the discussion, the peculiarities of distinction between freedom of speech and hate speech were presented, the existing approaches to and the international experience in the fight against hate, hostility, assault and slander were observed.