Weak authorities do not need strong press

WEAK AUTHORITIES DO NOT NEED STRONG PRESS

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| 01:32:52 | 11-06-2005 | Politics |

The times when intractable journalists were threatned with violence
and pressure. Today they are influenced upon in a “lawful way”.

In the words of National Unity faction secretary Alexan Karapetyan
the draft constitutional amendments adopted in the first reading does
not secure freedom of mass media. “For foreigners Robert Kocharyan
is a democrat but within his country he is a tyrant”, he says.

Though the freedom of speech in Armenia is guaranteed by the
Constitution in reality it is not secured. For example the order
of formation of the National Committee on TV and Radio has not been
changed so far and this function has not been conveyed to the National
Assembly. Alexan Karapetyan is convinced that the new Constitution
provides for too much authority for the President. How should the
independence of TV companies secured? “Amalyan should be replaced and
at least 70% of the NCTR should be appointed by the NA. The chairman
can be appointed while the other members should be elected by the
National Assembly. However Robert Kocharyan does not empower the NA
with any authority”, he says.

National Unity in convinced that the example of NCTR shows that
pseudo-democracy is reigning in Armenia. “How can a person say: I
appoint members of the commission but I have nothing to do with the
activities of the commission? The NCTR is a corrupted organization,
which functions for one person. How can this structure secure
democracy?” he continues.

However not only TV companies are implied in the notion of mass
media. Much importance is attached to newspapers. Alexan Karapetyan
does not blame some newspapers for being financed by businessmen and
oligarchs. The opposition deputy understands that under the present
conditions newspapers should have means to pay for the services of
the printing offices while the population is not able to pay 300-400
drams for a newspaper to secure self-financing. The deputy suggests
the following, “We should create conditions allowing newspapers to
solve their financial problems. For example, a fund financing the
newspaper on a voluntary basis can be formed in the NA. The newspapers
worthy of such financing can be selected via international contests
with the independent commissions securing fairness of the selection”

According to the deputy, weak power wants weak press. However he
considers that there should exists some limitations on the issues
referring to the national security. In other cases the fourth power
should take up the role of “conscience” of the political field and
express the will of the nation.

Lena Badeyan

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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