YPC Weekly Newsletter

2013
May 3-9
YPC MONITORING: RULING PARTY RECEIVES THE MOST UNFAVOURABLE COVERAGE FOR FIRST TIME IN ARMENIAN ELECTIONS’ HISTORY

On May 7, at “Henaran” Club, Yerevan Press Club presented the Report (April 7 - May 3, 2013) on monitoring of Armenian broadcast media coverage of the official campaign of Yerevan Council of Elders elections, held on May 5, 2013.

THE MONITORING of Armenian broadcast media coverage of the 2013 elections of the Yerevan Council of Elders is carried out by Yerevan Press Club within the framework of a project on strengthening electoral processes in Armenia in line with international standards, implemented by the OSCE Office in Yerevan and financed by the European Union. The monitoring is conducted in three stages: the first stage covers the period from April 7 to May 3, 2013 (pre-election promotion); the second stage covers the period  from May 4 to May 5, 2013 till 20.00 (the days, when pre-election promotion is prohibited by the electoral legislation); the third stage covers the period of May 5 from 20.00 to May 19, 2013 (coverage of the post-election situation).

THE RESEARCH included 4 national TV channels - First Channel of the Public Television of Armenia (h1), “Yerkir Media”, “Kentron”, Second Armenian TV Channel (h2); one Yerevan TV channel - “ArmNews”, as well as the Public Radio of Armenia and “ArmRadio FM 107” radio channel.

THIS REPORT covers the whole period of pre-election promotion. As it was mentioned in the Interim Report of the monitoring (April 7-24, 2013), the first two and a half weeks of this period “reflected both positive and negative tendencies of Armenian broadcast media coverage of elections, which had appeared through the recent years. In particular, as a positive sign we can mention the absence of discrimination with respect to any of the 7 political forces, taking part in the struggle for places in Yerevan Council of Elders.

At the same time, a major problem is the lack of willingness of Armenian politicians to participate in debates, open discussions on air. Also, some broadcasters are continuing the undesirable practice of using in their editorial coverage the footage prepared by electoral headquarters of political parties, which contains elements of pre-election promotion. As another negative tendency, we can mention the reducing of the role of public service broadcasters in the coverage of elections and political life in general. This factor is particularly relevant in the context of growing politicization of several private TV channels, which, being associated with particular parties, are to some extent implementing a certain information agenda. The latter fact can be assessed in two ways. On the one hand, reflection of different political interests in the broadcast media is a guarantee of pluralism in covering election campaigns. On the other hand, a public resource (the frequency) is, as a matter of fact, used for narrow political purposes, which contradicts the essence of the Armenian legislation. In addition, such situation in Armenian broadcast media field limits the information capacity of the political forces that do not have leverage over broadcasters, while guarantees of a more or less balanced coverage (legislation and monitoring) are present only in the short periods of official pre-election promotion. The same restriction applies to a certain extent to the civil society and independent experts.”

These trends are mostly characteristic for the last 9 days of pre-election promotion, as well. At the same time, it is possible to state that there was no discrimination with regard to 6 out of 7 political forces, taking part in the elections. “Arakelutyun” (“Mission”) party received significantly less attention from the media studied. Of course, this party is less well-known and has less political influence than the other six competitors. However, this cannot be a satisfactory explanation for such a striking disparity in the attention to this and other parties in the airtime of certain broadcasters. This, first of all, refers to the First Channel of the Public Television of Armenia (PTA), where representatives of “Arakelutyun” did not participate in any discussion programmes, particularly “Hartsazruyts” (“Interview”). Meanwhile, the representatives of competing political forces were invited to this programme 2-3 times, each. And, in general, in terms of volume of coverage it is on the PTA First Channel that the largest gap between “Arakelutyun” and other participants of the campaign was recorded.

THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF ACTIVITY in the coverage of the election campaign has been shown by “Kentron” TV channel, followed by "Yerkir Media". In terms of this indicator, volume of airtime, allocated to parties/bloc, “ArmNews” was the third (hereafter for the quantitative data of the monitoring see the tables in YPC Report). In this regard, "Kentron" and "Yerkir Media" regained their leading positions, which belonged to them during the parliamentary elections in 2012, but which they lost during the presidential campaign of 2013. Thus, the assumption of the YPC monitoring group was confirmed, that the interest of these two channels towards the elections to a certain extent is conditioned by the participation of, respectively, the parties "Bargavach Hayastan" ("Prosperous Armenia") and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun. The least attention to the elections of the Yerevan Council of Elders was shown by the PTA First Channel and the Public Radio of Armenia. As noted above, the relatively low interest of the Public Television and Radio Company of Armenia towards political processes in the country, in general, can already be considered traditional, and most of all, it refers to TV broadcast of the PTRC.

Of political forces, participating in the elections of the Council of Elders, the most volume of coverage, in terms of aggregate data of all the media studied, was received by "Prosperous Armenia". However, if the indicators of the party bloc "Barev, Yerevan" ("Hello, Yerevan") are added to the coverage of the party "Zharangutyun" ("Heritage"), irrespective of its membership in the bloc and participation in the elections, their cumulative indicators in terms of airtime volume would be even higher, albeit not significantly, than those of "Prosperous Armenia". (Given that "Barev, Yerevan" and "Heritage" are inseparable in the perception of the public, the summation of their indicators within this research was quite justified.) In terms of frequency of references, however, the leader was the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), which according to the amount of airtime received lagged behind both "Barev, Yerevan"/"Heritage" and "Prosperous Armenia".

On the air of “Kentron” TV channel, “Prosperous Armenia” had an overwhelming advantage before all other participants of the elections. This party is also ahead of its competitors in terms of volume of coverage on the Second Armenian TV Channel (though with a much smaller gap than on “Kentron”). ARF-Dashnaktsutyun received certain, though not very significant, advantage over competitors on “Yerkir Media” TV channel, and RPA received similar advantage on the PTA First Channel. As for the other three media studied, “ArmNews”, “ArmRadio” and Public Radio of Armenia, the highest cumulative indicator was received by “Barev, Yerevan”/”Heritage.

COVERAGE OF THE OFFICIAL, PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES OF THE LEADERS (i.e., the first three persons on the electoral lists, whose names appeared in the ballots) of the political forces, running for seats in the Yerevan Council of Elders, outside of the context of the campaign and their party belonging, was, as a rule, minimal and could not significantly influence the perceptions of the audience. In this capacity, for the period studied, appeared Taron Margarian, the current Mayor of Yerevan and first number of the RPA electoral list, Vardan Oskanian, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the first number of the “Prosperous Armenia” electoral list, Armen Yeritsian, RA Minister of Emergency Situations and the first number of “Orinats Yerkir” electoral list, as well as Smbat Lputian, chess grandmaster and the second number of the electoral list of RPA. The most extensive was the coverage of Taron Margarian’s official activities outside of the context of elections in the weekly programme “Mayrakaghak” (“Capital City”), aired on “ArmNews”, which is a product of cooperation of the press service of the City Hall and the TV company. However, this was typical only for the beginning of pre-election promotion.

THE SHARE OF CONNOTATIONAL REFERENCES to political forces, taking part in the elections of the Council of Elders, was almost two times higher than during the parliamentary (2012) and presidential (2013) campaigns: it comprised 5.3% of the aggregate number of references on all the channels studied. This indicates an uncompromising struggle and confirms the claims by the opposition that it viewed Yerevan elections as decisive within the current electoral cycle. If after the parliamentary and even the presidential elections there still was an opportunity to challenge the ruling RPA, after the campaign for the seats to the Council of the Elders the opposition will have to wait four years for the next “big elections”. The intensity of the political competition was bound to influence the information component of the elections and it broke the tendency of mainly neutral coverage of the political life of the country, which had been observed in the course of latest elections. Moreover, the increase in the level of coverage of political forces outside of a neutral context took place mostly during the last 9 days of the pre-election campaign. Throughout these 9 days connotational references comprised 8%, significantly higher than in the 27-day election campaign as a whole.

Characteristically, the highest share of connotational references was recorded on those three TV channels, where advantage in terms of volume of coverage was held by those parties (particularly, “Prosperous Armenia” and ARF-Dashnaktsutyun), which more than the others advocated “a united front” against RPA: on Second Armenian TV Channel -9.9%, “Yerkir Media” - 9%, “Kentron” - 8.8%. In the airtime of other media studied, this indicator was significantly lower than the average indicator of 5.3%. “Yerkir Media” and “Kentron” were united by the fact that it was at their expense that during the last 9 days of the pre-election promotion the degree of confrontation in the information field went up (respectively, 17.3% and 14.6% of connotational references), and in their airtime the coverage of the RPA was especially critical (respectively, 0 positive against 43 negative and 0 positive against 52 negative references - within the whole pre-election promotion). It was the increase in the number of negative references to RPA at the end of the electoral campaign that destroyed the general dynamic of connotationality of references. In this respect, on the Second Armenian TV Channel a different trend was observed: here, through the last 9 days of the pre-election promotion the share of connotational references was reduced to 7.9%.

The most neutral throughout the pre-election promotion was the coverage on the PTA First Channel (2.2% of connotational references) and “ArmNews” (2.4%). The Second Armenian TV Channel was the only one, where number of positive references to political forces was higher than the number of negative ones. And the highest prevalence of negative references over positive ones was recorded on the air of “Kentron” and “Yerkir Media”.

In terms of balance of positive and negative references, the most favourable coverage was received by ARF-Dashnaktsutyun (10 positive and 0 negative references by all the broadcasters studied) and “Prosperous Armenia” (24 and 17). The former received its favourable balance mainly due to “Yerkir Media” (9 and 0), and the latter - due to “Kentron” (12 and 0). Three parties, RPA, “Armenian National Congress” (ANC) and “Orinats Yerkir”, had a negative balance. The most unfavourable was the coverage of the ruling party (28 positive and 153 negative references), which was an unprecedented phenomenon in the history of elections in Armenia. Moreover, the balance of RPA was negative in all media studied. It was formed mostly due to the fact that opposition political forces to a large extent used the airtime they received to criticize the RPA and sometimes paid less attention to their own electoral programmes.

Negative references to the Republicans mostly were related to the deficiencies in the management of the city and the country in general. Also the ruling party was accused of having an intention to falsify the elections. In case of “Prosperous Armenia”, the negative tone of coverage was due to accusations about vote-buying, while positive references were mostly statements, made in its support at election campaign events. Especially often, such statements were heard in the airtime of “Kentron” and the Second Armenian TV Channel. To a certain extent, this was a consequence of using in the editorial coverage of these two channels (as well as on “Yerkir Media”) of the same video materials, which, most probably, had been provided by the electoral headquarters of “Prosperous Armenia” itself. Positive references to “Orinats Yerkir” were mostly heard in the reports about pre-election events, and criticism referred to cooperation with RPA and participation in electoral violations. Favourable balance of references to ARF-Dashnaktsutyun was formed as a result of statements by the voters who said they were going to vote for this party. Negative references to ANC were mostly related not to the pre-election context per se, but to the transformation of the party “Armenian National Movement”, its renaming into “Armenian National Congress” and its April 13, 2013 assembly, which completed that process. Moreover, critical statements towards ANC and its leader, First RA President Levon Ter-Petrosian, were heard from representatives of various political forces.

ANALYSIS OF THE PROGRAMMES OF THE FORMAT “GUEST-IN-STUDIO” confirms that the highest degree of interest towards the election campaign was shown by “Kentron”: almost all of its discussion programmes were devoted to the elections and political processes in general. At the same time, there were no representatives of RPA among the guests of “Kentron”, which should rather be interpreted not as a selective approach of the TV channel to the parties, but as a selective approach of the Republicans to the TV channels. “Yerkir Media”, “ArmNews” and Second Armenian TV Channel also actively used the format “guest-in-studio” for coverage of the campaign. If it were to the programmes of the Public Radio, except the news programmes, it would be impossible to assume that there was an important political campaign taking place in Armenia. The PTA First Channel was significantly more passive than the private TV channels monitored, however, throughout the period studied, representatives of all political forces, running in the elections, except “Arakelutyun”, were invited to its programme “Hartsazruyts”. “ArmRadio” was significantly less interested in the political processes, as compared to the recent presidential election campaign. Like during the presidential campaign, discussion programmes of all broadcasters were rarely turning to independent experts for analysis of the electoral situation.

“LES NOUVELLES D’ARMENIE” SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT SEDA MAVIAN GETS “THE TIME FOR FREEDOM OF PRESS” 2013 AWARD

On May 3, at the Journalists’ Union of Armenia the award ceremony of “The Time for Freedom of Press” was held on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day. This year marked the 20th anniversary since the Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. The 2013 jubilee event focuses on the theme “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media”.

“The Time for Freedom of Press” Award was established in 2006 by Yerevan Press Club, Internews Media Support public organization and Journalists’ Union of Armenia.

In 2013, the winner of “The Time for Freedom of Press” became Seda Mavian, special correspondent of “Les Nouvelles d’Armenie” magazine in Armenia. Seda Mavian received a certificate and the traditional gift of a watch for the best performance in the political interview genre.

Another traditional event to mark the universal journalism day was organized by the Freedom of Information Center in the Union of Artists of Armenia, where a photo exhibition under the theme "Freedom of Press: the Right to Know" was opened.

Yerevan Press Club congratulates colleagues on this Jubilee Professional Day!

“PRESS CLUB” CYCLE: ETHICAL ASPECTS OF REPORTING ON SENSITIVE TOPICS

On May 6, another talk show of “Press Club” cycle, dealing with journalistic ethics, went on “Yerkir Media” TV channel. The weekly TV cycle is produced by Yerevan Press Club with the support of Deutsche Welle Academy.

The “Press Club” focused on the ethical aspects of reporting on national, religious and other sensitive issues. The main reason for this topic was the episode from the news and entertainment program “Good Morning, Armenians!”, broadcast on “Armenia” TV channel on March 19, 2013. The episode had  provoked negative feedback among the residents of Gyumri, the second largest city of Armenia. The “Press Club” discussants - Margarita Minasian, Executive Director of “Tsayg” TV company of Gyumri, and Ashot Gazazian, correspondent of Deutsche Welle in Armenia, expressed their opinions. The experts of the program were Yuri Kazakov, Co-Chairman of the Russian Public Collegium for Press Complaints, Manana Aslamazian, Director of “Alternative Resources in Media” program, Naira Martikian, producer of “Shant” TV company, and Ashot Melikian, Chairman of Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression. YPC President Boris Navasardian hosted the talk show.   

The next “Press Club” will be aired on “Yerkir Media” on Monday, May 13 at 18.00 (rerun - on Saturday, May 18 at 12.00).

Watch “Press Club” of May 6, 2013 here


POLICE INVESTIGATES CASES OF IMPEDING PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES OF JOURNALISTS ON VOTING DAY FOR YEREVAN COUNCIL OF ELDERS

On May 8, RA Police communicated about incidents with journalists, who were covering the May 5, 2013 voting day for the Yerevan Council of Elders. The Police also informed that some of the alarms on the incidents had not been confirmed. At the same time, the police reports list seven cases of impeding professional activities of journalists.

With reference to www.1in.am, the Police reported that from the early morning people were being conveyed to the 4/02 electoral station of Arabkir district by public mini buses number 71 and 40. As the residents of this district told “Aravot”, at all the elections they were conveyed to the polling station by the Republican Party of Armenia. The RPA representative and chairman of the precinct electoral commission refused to talk with the journalists and screamed at them. L.A., the proxy of “Barev, Yerevan” party bloc, informed that the commission  chairman impeded the work of journalists. Police is conducting operative investigation to reveal the facts of the incident  (see “Aravot”, “RPA Is Bringing to and Taking Voters from Polling Station by Mini Buses Number 71 and 40” - Ed. Note).

With reference to iDitord, the Police informed that at the 6/23 electoral station of Ajapnyak district the reporter of “Aravot” was prohibited to film. Police is carrying out investigation (see iDitord, as well as “Aravot”, “They Were Caught with Lists, Which They Claim to Be Poem” - Ed. Note).

With reference to www.1in.am, the Police communicated that at the 7/05 polling station of Malatia-Sebastia district a media representative was impeded to follow the voting process. The explanations provided by observer Sh.A. and A.M., cameraman of “Kentron” TV, were used for the case materials. Police is conducting examination on the case (see iDitord - Ed. Note).

With reference to iLur.am, Police informed that at the same 7/05 station a representative of “Kentron” TV was barred from entry to the polling station without an accreditation at the Central Electoral Commission. Police is taking measures to implead the representative of “Kentron” in investigation on the case (see iLur.am, “Summary of Congress: Violations Are Recorded As of 19.00” - Ed. Note).

With reference to "Hetq", the Police informed that at the 7/14 polling station of Malatia-Sebastia district people from the house of seniors were conveyed by microbuses. When the reporter and cameraman of "Hetq" came up to the people, gathered at the precinct, S.Z., the chairman of the electoral commission, pushed out the reporter from the station, since he did not have a journalistic ID. Police is investigating the circumstances of the case (see "Hetq", “They Pushed the Reporter” - Ed. Note).

With reference to Counterpart International, the Police informed that the organization had received an alarm on its hotline that at the 7/34 electoral precinct of Malatia-Sebastia district a reporter of “168 Hours” newspaper was banned to enter the station during the vote-counting. A police investigation is ongoing (see iDitord - Ed. Note).

With reference to iDitord, the Police reported that at the 8/08 electoral precinct of Malatia-Sebastia district Gevorg Manukian, running for a seat in the Yerevan Council of Elders from Republican Party of Armenia, had a proxy ID and obstructed the work of journalists and observers. Police is conducting examination of the incident (see iDitord, as well as newsfeed of “Asparez” - Ed. Note).

EXTENSIVE NUMBER OF CAMERAS AT POLLING STATIONS CONFUSED INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS

On May 6, the Delegation of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities held a press conference in Yerevan. The delegation conducted an observation mission of the May 5 elections to Yerevan Council of Elders. Stewart Dickson, Head of the delegation, presented the preliminary conclusions of the mission. According to the observers, “with the exception of a few incidents, in those polling stations visited by the observation team of the Congress, the vote was carried out in a calm and orderly manner and the elections were technically well prepared”.

The CoE observation mission particularly pointed out: “The cameras present in each polling station and the practice of extensive filming by different stakeholders: on the one hand this adds to the transparency of the process. However, members of the Congress believe that this could be counter-productive and instead of increasing transparency - as it was meant to be - create mistrust among voters about overly-controlled electoral processes.”

Stewart Dickson also mentioned “the extensive number of domestic observers present in polling stations”. “In the majority of the cases, we were unsure about a number of local NGOs and media outlets; their intentions remain ambiguous to the members of our delegation and it could be suggested that these observers were also acting on behalf of political parties or alliances”, stressed the Head of delegation.

Stewart Dickson reminded that Armenia is taking over the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe soon. On behalf of the Congress, he encouraged the Armenian authorities “to seize the opportunity of this Chairmanship and go ahead with further improvements of the legal framework, the electoral practice and the environment in which elections take place”.

MP EXPLAINS DISMISSAL OF HIS LAWSUIT BY WISH TO SPEND MORE TIME AND EFFORTS ON SOLVING VITAL ISSUES OF THE COUNTRY AND IMPROVING CITIZENS’ LIVES

On May 7, at the session of the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan, Tigran Urikhanian, RA National Assembly deputy, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit versus blogger Edgar Barseghian. As we have reported, the matter of the dispute was Edgar Barseghian’s photocollage, which portrayed Tigran Urikhanian with a half-naked body of a model. The photocollage was placed on Demotivator.am after Tigran Urikhanian was announced the “Most Stylish Political Figure of the Year” at the October 26, 2012 annual Style Screen award of the Armenian-Italian holding “Amore”. On November 21, 2012, the RA NA Deputy filed a lawsuit with a demand to bind the respondent with removing the collage from Demotivator.am, Blognews.am and social networks, as well as levy 1,5 million AMD (about $ 3,700) for moral damage, caused by insult (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 22-28, 2013).

Tigran Urikhanian explained on his Facebook page why he dropped the claims. He mainly wrote that his “work takes much time and efforts” and as a RA NA deputy he prefers spending time and efforts “for solving vital issues of the country and improving citizens’ lives” (as cited in Blognews.am, May 7, 2013).

In his turn, Edgar Barseghian wrote on his Facebook page that Tigran Urikhanian “showed political wisdom” with the dismissal of the suit: “I welcome this truly reasonable step that will save us both a meaningless fuss and will allow to use our time with more profit” (as cited in Blognews.am, May 7, 2013).

“HETQ” REPORTS THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE AND POLICE ABOUT THREATS TOWARDS ITS CORRESPONDENT

On May 5, “Hetq” (online publication of  Investigative Journalists NGO) published a "Report on Crime”. The reason for this was the video material “Is ‘Hetq’ Correspondent Ani Hovhannisian a Journalist or an Instigator?”, stored on May 3 on Nrnak.com. Nrnak.com also stressed that the video material is composed of episodes from various rallies, and this “dispels all doubts about the unethical conduct of the journalist (Ani Hovhannisian - Ed. Note)”.

“The true author of the video material is the RA Police, since police employees in uniforms with “02” filmed the journalist during the rallies. It is quite obvious how Nrnak.com got the episodes from the operative footage”, “Hetq” wrote in the “Report on Crime”.

Further, “Hetq” informed that it had requested the RA Special Investigative Service “to reveal how the footage of the police appeared on Nrnak.com website, and who is the real author of the threats made to “Hetq” reporter Ani Hovhannisian”. “It should be noted that Nrnak.com put a notice for its users that it will not store comments with names, while the comments threatening our journalist are not being taken down, but are being filled with new ones. The authors of some comments publicly threaten Ani Hovhannisian to cause serious physical injury, which is a deed proscribed in Article 137 of RA Criminal Code. Thus, we request to take urgent steps in this regard”, “Hetq” emphasized.

In the P.S. to the “Report on Crime”, “Hetq” informed that as of May 5 Nrnak.com had taken down all the comments to the video material, however, “Hetq” has “a print screen with the threatening comments, which can be provided to the Special Investigative Service upon necessity”.

On May 8, “Hetq” stored one more article “Reporter and Members of her Family are Being Threatened”, which informed that on the same day, at 15.42, Ani Hovhannisian “received a threatening telephone call from a cell number registered in Russia”: “The caller told her to keep her nose out of business that doesn’t concern her, otherwise it would wind up bad for her and her family members. When the reporter asked what he was talking about, the caller answered ‘you know what’. The caller added that he knows where Hovhannisian’s family lives and that all it would take was a phone call. ‘Otherwise, dear Ani, you or one of your relatives will wind up in a ditch’ he said”.

The article also contained the recording of the phone call. “Hetq” noted that it made a report on crime to RA Police with a mention of the phone number and provided a copy of the recording.

As we have reported, on April 27, in the center of Yerevan, Ani Hovhannisian was walking around the Northern Avenue, when she saw how two policemen were demanding from a street musician to pack up and come to the police station with them.  When the journalist asked the police officers why they want to take the musician to the police station, a civilian approached her. The man insulted the journalist and then rudely pushed her. The civilian was police officer Vardan Ghukasian. On April 28, referring to the Head of the RA Police PR and Information Department, “Hetq” reported that RA Head of Police Vladimir Gasparian dismissed Vardan Ghukasian from duties upon the results of an official investigation (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 26 - May 2,2013).

COURT PARTIALLY UPHELD SUIT OF BLOGGER TIGRAN KOCHARIAN VERSUS “CHORRORD INKNISHKHANUTIUN”

On May 3, the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan released the ruling on the suit of blogger Tigran Kocharian versus the founder of “Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun” daily, “Trespassers W.” LLC. As we have reported, the basis for the litigation was the piece “Fascist and Elephant: Save the Elephants”, published in “Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun” on July 13, 2012. The piece contained critics about Tigran Kocharian, whose Internet nickname is “Elephant”. The plaintiff demanded refutation and moral damage in the amount of 3,500,000 AMD (about $ 8,600): 3 mln for moral damage caused by libel and insult, and 500,000 AMD for attorney services (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, November 2-8, 2012 and November 16-22, 2012).

At the May 3 session the Court partially upheld Tigran Kocharian’s demands, committing the founder of “Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun”  to publish a refutation, and reducing the monetary award to 700,000 AMD (500,000 for moral damage and 200,000 for attorney services).

“Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun” announced that it intends to appeal the ruling at the upper court jurisdiction.

CLUB OF CHEERFUL AND QUICK-WITTED AS A STAFFING FOUNDRY FOR BROADCAST SPHERE

On May 6, RA President Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree to appoint Gagik Buniatian as a member of the RA National Commission on Television and Radio (NCTR) for a six-year term.

As we have reported, the competition to fill in the vacant position at the regulatory body was announced on April 16, due to the expiration of the term of office of the NCTR Chairman Grigor Amalian (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 12-18, 2013). There were 9 applicants for the vacant position.

On May 7, NCTR members elected Gagik Buniatian as Chairman.

Since September 2010, Gagik Buniatian was the Executive Director of Public Television of Armenia, before that - from 2002 - he headed “Hay TV”. In the beginning of the 90s, he was the leader of the KVN team of the Yerevan Medical University, which won twice the major league of the KVN (Club of Cheerful and Quick-Witted, Russian TV game show, popular since Soviet times). During these years, Gagik Buniatian also ran “Sharm” LLC.

It is to be noted that on March 1, RA President appointed Ruben Jaghinian a member of the Council of the Public Television and Radio Company (PTRC). Four days later, Ruben Jaghinian got the chairmanship over the regulatory body of the public broadcaster. The PTRC Council new Chairman also played in the KVN team of the Yerevan Medical University and became known after his team, under the leadership of Gagik Buniatian, twice won the abovementioned major league. Afterwards, up until this appointment, Ruben Jaghinian ran “Sharm Holding” LLC (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, March 1-7, 2013).

Thus, the landmark biography of the newly-appointed NCTR and PTRC Council Chairmen are surprisingly cross-cutting: former team-mates and business partners in the leading advertising and entertainment Armenian company are now chairing the main bodies, responsible for broadcast policy of the country.

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Editor of YPC Newsletter - Elina POGHOSBEKIAN