Armenian TV programme “indefinitely” taken off air

Armenian TV programme “indefinitely” taken off air

A1+ web site
15 Oct 04

A new television program created by and featuring news and analysis
from RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, was abruptly pulled from the schedule
of the local Armenian television station “Kentron” on 13 October,
according to service director Hrair Tamrazian. Although the television
station’s management has made no comment on the decision, it is widely
suspected that Kentron was pressured to suspend further broadcasts of
the program, either by official interests or local media competitors.

The television show, a 30-minute long analytical program called
“Azatutyun” (Liberty), debuted to rave reviews on Kentron Sunday, 10
October and was rebroadcast by Kentron the next day on 11 October. Two
days later, Tamrazian was informed by Kentron director (?Petros
Ghazarian) that the show would be “indefinitely suspended”. Kentron
has not commented on the reasons behind his station’s decision.

Tamrazian said: “I am very disappointed that, after tireless efforts
by RFE/RL and Kentron that resulted in a very successful TV show, it
was suspended for as yet unknown reasons. I call on the authorities
to investigate this matter and hope that Kentron and RFE/RL will
continue in a joint project that was eagerly awaited by many viewers
and listeners in Armenia.”

Many viewers called the Armenian Service after the show, to express
their appreciation for the program. Viewers said that the program
was a “breakthrough” for Armenian television, because of RFE/RL’s
objectivity, as well as for featuring a new format with two moderators
(male and female) and the show’s ability to “connect” with its
audience. The first show featured an exclusive report from Strasbourg
on the recent debate about Armenia in the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe (PACE), as well as exclusive interviews about
Armenian-Turkish relations with Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan
Oskanyan and the new US ambassador, John M. Evans. Passage omitted:
background information