Today We Have Airtime, Tomorrow We May Be Denied It


12:00 am | Today | Politics

Interview with Mesrop Movsesyan, Presidnt of A1+ TV Company.

During the 14th extraordinary convention of the ruling Republican
Party of Armenia (HHK) held in Yerevan on December 15, Serzh Sargsyan
announced, “We rejected outright a malicious practice of using force
against journalists, opened up the media and restored the right of
TV channels to access the spectrum.” Do you think that the agreement
signed between A1+ Company and ArmNews in September 2012, was reached
with this aim? When you were signing the agreement, did you think of
the possibility?

Yes, the purpose of the proposal was apparent from the very beginning
though it was disguised under the name of a business proposal. And
here, a question arises: if everything was determined in advance,
why did Serzh Sargsyan interfere in the signing of the bilateral
agreement and what does he mean by saying ‘we restored the right of
TV channels to access the spectrum?’ Embattled A1+ was one of the TV
channels that has been denied broadcast rights for the past 10 years
and I can think that the words were addressed to us. Let me answer:
A1+ has not been returned to airwaves: we have a clear order that has
become a subject of political speculations. To accuse the opposition
and A1+ of politicizing the issue is merely absurd. Today it is
Serzh Sargsyan who is politicizing and speculating the issue. Serzh
Sargsyan made lip service to the management of ArmNews, which,
based on its business interests and ambitions, had proposed us to
broadcast A1+’s news bulletin on its channel. Actually their ‘game’
has been unveiled. It was a bit senseless move and, eventually,
it cannot determine whether freedom of speech is strengthened in
the country or not, whether journalists are subjected to violence or
not, their rights are breached during the elections or not. It was a
childish trick intended for ignorant masses, who are not interested
in A1+, attitude towards journalists or the political situation in
the county. While people, who keep abreast of political developments
and pre-election processes, understand everything and want to show
something to Europe, but I must disappoint them saying that we have
already sought justice in Europe, by applying to the European Court
of Human Rights and having our claim upheld.

A1+ has again appealed to the European Court and is waiting for
the reply. Don’t you think that this was a message addressed to the
European Court?

Serzh Sargsyan’s statement was belated; the Parliamentary Assembly of
the Council of Europe (PACE) had already said that it did not accept
the results of tenders announced by the National Commission on TV and
Radio, since they did not ensure pluralism and equal footing for all
participants. I do not understand how [NCTR Chairman] Grigor Amalyan
can tolerate Serzh Sargsyan’s statement, who said ‘they had given an
opportunity’. In that case, who is Mr Amalyan? And what is the role
of the state regulator chaired by Amalyan? Are they marionettes who
deal with the unknown and grasp people’s money? You cannot conceal the
reality with unsubstantiated statements or show how democratic you are.

Do you think that the 20 minutes of broadcast you have on ArmNews TV
is enough for you to say everything you wanted?

I do not think that we demonstrate our abilities within 20 minutes. We
have a professional team engaged in professional activities and working
in due order without right- or left-handed orientations. This is yet
another opportunity to enlarge our audience. I am not interested in
the speculations in the National Assembly, government or presidential
residence, since I have my program and they have theirs.

I am to continue my struggle in court and they have the right
to protect themselves, and we are in equal positions in the given
situation. Whether or not A1+ has been given access to air is clear to
everyone. The contract signed with ArmNews expires in February, 2013.

Doesn’t it imply that A1+ will again be taken off air? Today the
company is given airtime, tomorrow it is denied it again. And who
stands behind the mess? The president? And this is considered to be
a democratic country and they are proud of it. This can be compared
with infantilism. It is ridiculous. Let them reopen and reclose,
let them do whatever they want.

Cannot A1+ convey its ideas within these 20 minutes?

We are trying to do it. Yet, it does not mean that we do not have
more things to say and share with the public. But this implies a
new approach in a different format. We do not use the 20 minutes to
destroy the country, rather, use the airtime to show the country’s
true image. We are not the one that destroys; we are the one that

Diana Markosyan

From: Baghdasarian