We, the undersigned representatives of media outlets, with this statement express our concern on noticeable disturbing tendencies linked to the activity of the media:
1. During the Velvet Revolution and to date the atmosphere of intolerance by various social groups in social networks against dissent, criticism of the activity of different representatives of the authorities, and generally, against opinions of opponents is disturbing. Particularly, on social networks there are obvious and dangerous intolerable, hate attitude toward the activity of media outlets, rather aggressive manifestations instigating hostility both by a part of society and representatives of the leading political power and its amateurs. Rather frequently those attacks are organized and addressed, sometimes are implemented by fake users through targeted attacks and spreading calls to cause particular damage.
In this respect heads of media outlets and other representatives have publicly set an alarm, anticipating reflection of the authorities, persons implementing professional activity, in this case, attacks on media representatives and media websites, social networks to stop intolerance toward dissent, critical speech, assault and threats. The revolution led by slogans of love and solidarity and revolution leaders can’t show indifference toward similar manifestations.
The incumbent authorities at least on the level of statements, calls and others mechanisms enshrined by law, may prevent manifestations of personal and other assault, threats or other illegal activities against media outlets and their representatives, publications containing dissent. Similar manifestations have their reflection in journalistic work. Moreover, when as a result of such attacks serious technical and financial damage is caused to the websites of media outlets and their involvement in social networks, to advertising flows (by lowering rating of their pages, attempting to block their representation and etc.)
2. Rather complicated situation has established in the work with state offices, their heads and their press services. Representatives of the new authorities prefer to notify on press conferences and other events, as well as on the work done through their Facebook pages and posts. Moreover, certain media outlets have privileged working conditions having the primary opportunity to be informed on this or that event through direct communication.
Naturally, we don’t underestimate importance of social networks, however, we also insist: it shouldn’t substitute press work. There is an impression that members of the new government methodologically draw media outlets and free speech back, substituting it by “live streams”, Facebook publications and uncontrollable information garbage on the internet. All media outlets should be properly notified on events—discussions, press conferences (and etc.), and aren’t obliged to follow Facebook posts of this of that official. Starting from public awareness equal conditions (including advertising) should be created for all media outlets.
3. In relation with media field the authorities should be led by the concept of creating total equality for all media outlets. It should function in providing information, accrediting journalists, sales of newspapers, advertising, taxation policy and all other issues.
We call on the head of the new government and its members to refrain from incautious, sometimes irresponsible statements on media outlets, which may be reflected in their authority and further activity.
The statement is open from everyone wishing to join:
Anna Israelyan, editor-in-chief of online “Aravot” website
Armine Ohanyan, editor-in-chief of “Hraparak daily
Satik Seyranyan, president of the Union of Armenian Journalists, editor-in-chief of “168 Hours” newspaper
Mesrop Movsesyan, founder and head of “A1+”
Gegham Manukyan, director of news and political programs of “Yerkir Media” TV
Piruza Meliksetyan, editor of “Irates” newspaper
Konstantin Ter-Nakalyan, editor-in-chief of BlogNews website
Varuzhan Babajanyan, editor-in-chief of “Past” daily
Sevak Hakobyan, editor of Yerevan.Today
Flora Nashkharyan, editor-in-chief of “Golos Armenii” newspaper