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Dareskizb Ltd v. Armenia, No. 61737/08, ECtHR (Fourth Section), 21 September 2021


Ban on publication of an opposition newspaper as a result of a state of emergency declared in the context of massive post-election protests.

Normative references

Art. 10 ECHR
Art. 15 ECHR


1. The duties and responsibilities which accompany the exercise of the right to freedom of expression by media professionals assume special significance in situations of conflict and tension. Where the views expressed do not constitute hate speech or incitement to violence, the right of the public to be informed of them cannot be restricted, even with reference to the aims of protecting territorial integrity or national security or preventing disorder or crime.

2. The existence of a public emergency threatening the life of the nation must not serve as a pretext for limiting freedom of political debate, which is at the very core of the concept of democratic society. Even in a state of emergency, any measures taken should seek to protect the democratic order from the threats to it, and every effort must be made to safeguard the values of a democratic society, such as pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness.

3. Restrictions that have the effect of stifling political debate and silencing dissenting opinions go against the very purpose of Article 10 ECHR, and are not necessary in a democratic society.
(In the present case, the Court unanimously found that the prohibition by Armenian authorities against the applicant company to publish a daily opposition newspaper during the state of emergency amounts to a violation of article 10 ECHR).