Yerevan Press Club Weekly Newsletter


MAY 7-13, 2004








On May 10 at the Journalists Union of Armenia Yerevan Press Club held the
presentation of “The Karabagh Conflict and Prospects for Settling It” book
published under the project “Possible Resolutions to the Karabagh Conflict:
Expert Evaluations and Media Coverage”. The project was implemented by
Yerevan and Baku Press Clubs with the support of OSI Network Media Program.
Stepanakert Press Club was also involved in the project.

The book presents the findings of the sociological surveys and media
monitoring, administered in 2001-2003 in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Mountainous
Karabagh. “The surveys of the population and decision-makers in 2001 as well
as focus-group discussions in 2002 allowed to reveal the sentiment and the
major priorities in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Mountainous Karabagh on the
conflict-related issues”, the Armenia project coordinator Ashot Melikyan
said. “The Delphi research of the experts in 2003 showed that despite the
significant discrepancies between the Armenian and Azerbaijani parties,
there is a certain potential for rapprochement which can be used during
political decision-making in the conflict resolution process.”

The media monitoring coordinator in Armenia and Mountainous Karabagh Elina
Poghosbekian pointed out the main distinctions of the coverage of Karabagh
problem by the media. The findings of the monitoring studies of Armenian,
Azerbaijani and Karabagh media, held by unified methodology and in
practically identical timeframes, showed that in 2001-2003 the most actively
discussed issues were those of peaceful or military solutions to the
conflict. At the same time the majority of publications was devoted to the
need for peaceful resolution. Unlike the Karabagh media that for three years
has been displaying generally steady attitude and a greater interest to the
subject in question, its coverage in the media of Armenia and Azerbaijan
significantly reduced in 2003. The “frozen” interest to Karabagh issue is
explained by the stagnation in the negotiations process, but it is primarily
due to the elections last year that kept the media attention focused in the
two countries. Thus, during presidential and parliamentary election
campaigns in Armenia the “Karabagh factor” was either not used or little
used (along with other economic, social and other issues) in the pre- and
post-election political debate. Year 2003 was marked by presidential
elections and the problems of power succession for Azerbaijan and its media
as well.

At the presentation Yerevan Press Club also publicized the monitoring data
on the coverage of the relations of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey by the
media of the three countries. This research has been conducted by Yerevan
Press Club and “Yeni Nesil” Journalists Union of Azerbaijan since 2002. The
“election fever” of 2003 also told on the attention of Armenian and
Azerbaijani media to the relations within Armenia-Azerbaijan-Turkey
triangle. A characteristic feature of the Armenian media coverage in
2002-2003 are the Armenian-Turkish (with an emphasis on the 1915 issue) and
Armenian-Azerbaijani (with an emphasis on the Mountainous Karabagh problem)
relations. The relations of Azerbaijan and Turkey are the least popular
subject. In Azerbaijani media three priorities can be steadily traced:
Azerbaijani-Turkish and Azerbaijani-Armenian relations as well as the
Karabagh problem. The bilateral relations of Armenia and Turkey receive very
little attention. As to Turkish media, they display permanently low interest
to Turkish-Armenian and Turkish-Azerbaijani subjects, focusing on other
foreign policy aspects.

The findings of the researches mentioned can be viewed in detail on YPC web


On May 12 the Public Relations and Information Department of the RA General
Prosecutor’s Office communicated that two of attackers on journalists during
an opposition rally of April 5 have been interrogated. According to the
General Prosecutor’s Office, these are a resident of Yerevan, unemployed
Ashot Avetisian, born in 1965, and a resident of Artashat city, unemployed
Hrair Harutiunian, born in 1957. According to release, these people “made a
complete confession and gave appropriate testimony”.

As it has been reported, on April 5 the media representatives were attacked
by a group of “strong guys” while attempting to record them throwing eggs
at the rally participants (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 2-8,
2004). On May 5, a month after the incident, the General Prosecutor’s Office
informed about the transfer of the criminal case, instituted on April 8 by
the RA Police, to Yerevan Prosecutor’s Office. A week after the public
learned about the first steps of the investigative bodies. In this context
it is important to note that right after April 5 the scene of the assault
on one of the cameramen was shown on air, and the photographs of several
“egg-throwers” were published in the press. Here a question arises: has it
not taken the law enforcement bodies too long to identify only two of the
attackers and interrogate them? Hopefully, having finally set off, the
investigation will proceed at greater speed to find and punish people who
exerted violence against journalists at duty.


On May 11 the National Commission on Television and Radio announced a
broadcast licensing competition for 33rd UHF in Nor Hajn town of Kotayk
region. The deadline for the bid submission is August 9, 2004. The
applications will be considered by the National Commission on August 18.

Currently “Nor Hajn” TV company broadcasts on this frequency.


On May 10, after the technical break announced due to the change of the
owner and the title, “Aravot” TV company went on air. As it has been
reported, after the sale of “Kentron”, the TV company, renamed to “Aravot”,
was headed by Aram Abrahamian, also the Chief Editor of “Aravot” daily (see
YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 23-29, 2004). Despite the assurances of Aram
Abrahamian that he will continue to assist the return of “A1+” TV company on
air (Abrahamian hosted “PostScript” program on “A1+”), his consent to head
“Aravot” TV encountered very negative response from “A1+” management. (Two
years ago, by the decision of National Commission on Television and Radio
the opposition channel “A1+” lost the competition for its frequency to
“Kentron”, presently “Aravot” TV.)

On its behalf the Board of opposition party Armenian National Movement (ANM)
announced that it refuses to appear on the air of “Aravot” TV. On May 6,
with a reference to anonymous source in the ANM Board, “Haikakan Zhamanak”
daily reported that the governing body of the party does not want to
participate in the imitation of freedom of speech.

In an interview to “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” newspaper of May 7 Aram
Abrahamian expressed his perplexion at the fact that “a political force
refuses to state its position on live air out of fear that it will be an
imitation of freedom of speech”. “In any case I regret that this part of the
political spectrum will not be represented on our channel, however, I am
positive that this is temporary”, Aram Abrahamian added.


The Vanadzor branch of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly won a case versus the
administration of Vanadzor city at the court of primary jurisdiction of Lori
region. The reason for the suit was the refusal of Mayor Samvel Darbinian to
provide HCA Vanadzor branch copies of all the resolutions passed by the
municipality and the Senior Council of the community in 2002-2003.

According to the head of HCA Vanadzor branch Artur Sakunts, the Mayor
referred to the provision of the RA Law “On Legal Acts”, by which the legal
acts for internal use and personal purpose are only provided to their
addressees. The remaining documents, as the Vanadzor administration head
said, were published in the periodical books of communal legal acts. The
human rights activists were unable to find them even at the municipality
itself. Thinking that the representatives of the local authorities violated
the RA Law “On Freedom of Information” the HCA Vanadzor branch filed a suit.

During the hearing the respondent did not have objections on the essence of
the case but he noted that out of 2,614 resolutions a part cannot be
provided as it contains information not to be publicized. To get the
remaining documents the plaintiff must pay a local duty of 1,000 drams
(about $2) for each copy.

At the session of April 30 the suit of HCA Vanadzor branch was secured. The
court obliged the municipality to provide the organization with copies of
all the resolutions of city administrations and the Senior Council of the
community for 2002-2003 except those constituting a secret. The total amount
of duty to be paid for the documents was defined to be only 1,000 drams.

When reprinting or using the information above, reference to the Yerevan
Press Club is required.

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Editor of YPC Newsletter – Elina POGHOSBEKIAN
Yerevan Press Club
9B, Ghazar Parpetsi str.
375007, Yerevan, Armenia
Tel.: (+ 374 1) 53 00 67; 53 35 41; 53 76 62
Fax: (+374 1) 53 56 61
E-mail: [email protected]
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