President of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan signed a decree on establishing rules for publishing or disseminating information during the legal regime of martial law declared in the territory of the Artsakh Republic. They are as follows:
1. During the legal regime of martial law declared in the territory of the Artsakh Republic, proceeding from the necessity to ensure state and public security of external and internal nature, any military information, non-military information related to state security, information and publications on the border situation of the Artsakh Republic, publication and transmission of information materials, interviews, reports, other information on military equipment, republic's Armed Forces and other troops, as well as any information directly related to them, (hereinafter all together referred to as reports), including on websites, social networks (hereinafter referred to as publications), should be done exclusively with reference to official information provided or published by state bodies (hereinafter referred to as official information), fully reflecting the official information (without editing).
2. Publication of reports deliberately misleading and (or) controverting the actions (including speeches, reports) of the state and local self-government bodies and officials, relating to ensuring the legal regime of martial law and state security, is prohibited.
3. Propaganda against the defense capacity and security of the Artsakh Republic is prohibited.
4. Official statements related to the reports are made by the President of the Artsakh Republic, state authorized bodies of the relevant sphere of the Artsakh Republic, and other persons at the instruction of the President of the Artsakh Republic.
5. Reports are published by the Press Secretary of the President of the Artsakh Republic or the Central Information Department of the Office of the President of the Artsakh Republic or the heads or authorized representatives of the state authorized bodies of relevant sphere.
6. Officials, representatives of public administration bodies may, within the scope of their powers, make statements and comments on the reports only in concordance with the positions agreed with the Central Information Department of the Office of the Artsakh Republic President.
7. The observance of the rules provided for in paragraphs 1-3 is exercised by the Artsakh Republic Police. The Police is authorized to take necessary measures to ensure the deletion of published reports and information, to carry out temporary confiscation or detention of printing equipment, radio broadcasters, amplifiers, and duplicators.
Violation of the established rules entails both administrative and criminal liability. In particular, the following paragraphs of Article 182.5 of the Code of Administrative Offenses provide:
“5. Violation of the rules of publication or dissemination of information by a media operator during the martial law, non-observance of the special accreditation procedure by a journalist, violation of special rules for the use of means of communication entails imposition of a fine in the amount of seven hundred to one thousand times the minimum wage.
6. Violation of the rules of publication or dissemination of information by persons not engaged in media activities or violation of the rules of restriction of freedom of expression entails imposition of a fine in the amount of three hundred to seven hundred times the minimum wage.
7. After being subjected to the fines provided for in paragraphs 5 and 6 of this Article, failure to immediately eliminate the publication disseminated in violation of the rules of publication or dissemination of information established during martial law entails imposition of a fine in the amount of one thousand to one and a half thousand times the minimum wage, and for those not engaged in media activities, from seven hundred to a thousand times the minimum wage.”
Article 321.4 of the Criminal Code provides:
“1. Violation of the rules of publication or dissemination of information during the legal regime of martial law, which has caused significant damage to the rights or legitimate interests of individuals or organizations or the legitimate interests of society or the state entails imposition of a fine in the amount of two thousand to three thousand times the minimum wage, or imprisonment for a maximum of 2 years. ”