From February 24 to March 4, 2020, the Public Television of Armenia, operating at the expense of taxpayers allocated 160 minutes 16 seconds of its air to the topic of the constitutional referendum, 19 minutes 45 seconds of which were allocated to the “No” campaign, 38 minutes 41 seconds to the “Yes” campaign and 101 minutes 50 seconds were neutral remarks. The Public TV also aired “Yes” and “No” campaign video clips of up to 1-minute duration each.
The Media Advocate initiative reports that the Public TV of Armenia conducted a hidden propaganda of the “Yes” headquarters. A publicly-funded television station has presented a report on the real authors of the “Yes” logo. The report was aired several times, for two consecutive days; on February 27 and 28. It is worth mentioning that no such report was aired for the “No” side of the campaign.
The initiative also said that Hayk Hovhannisyan, a member of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), was the guest of the Public TV. In an interview, referring to the Constitutional Court, Hovhannisyan stated that it had made a wrong decision regarding the SJC. That is, no contrary opinion was presented. This is also a violation of professional ethics, and the fact of presenting such a unilateral interview in the period preceding the referendum, may also be viewed as “Yes” propaganda.
Media Advocate urges Public Television, operating at the expense of taxpayers, to maintain impartiality and to cover the campaign of referendum on amendments to the Armenian Constitution scheduled for April 5, in keeping with the principles of equality and professional ethics.