For Immediate Release
January 6, 2011
State-sponsored television station in Armenia sued for slander over broadcasts about Jehovah’s Witnesses
YEREVAN, Armenia—The Christian Religious Organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Republic of Armenia filed a claim on December 9, 2010, against Armenian Public Television and its representatives.
Beginning on November 8, 2010, many media outlets in Armenia repeated the statement that a young man who was charged with the brutal murder of his elderly parents in Sevan, Armenia, was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That report is false. Neither the young man nor his parents were ever Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor did they have any association with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses is in agreement with those who deplore this tragic act of violence.
In addition to airing the misinformation about the religious beliefs of the family, the state-sponsored Armenian Public Television also used derogatory and insulting expressions when referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the broadcasts suggested that viewers should resort to physical violence against the Witnesses, which has already fueled violent attacks against them in some towns and cities in Armenia.
On November 12, 2010, the Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia called on the mass media “to cease” representing the accused as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The state-sponsored Armenian Public Television refused to take corrective measures, forcing the Witnesses to take legal action. Jehovah’s Witnesses in Armenia have filed a claim requesting that the defendants be ordered to apologize for their defamatory statements, issue a full retraction, and publish an unedited response from Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Worldwide there are over 7.5 million Jehovah’s Witnesses who peacefully meet together for worship. In Armenia, more than 24,000 persons attended the annual observance of the Memorial of the death of Jesus Christ, which was commemorated around the world by Jehovah’s Witnesses this past year on March 30, 2010. Jehovah’s Witnesses received state registration in Armenia on October 8, 2004.
In Europe: European Association of Jehovah’s Christian Witnesses
Telephone: +44 20 8906 2211
Telephone: +32 2 782 0015
In Armenia: Tigran Harutyunyan, Media Contact
Telephone: +374 93 900 482
In the United States: David Semonian, Office of Public Information
Telephone: +1 718 560 5600