On January 17, 2003, before the commencement of the official election campaign
of the RA presidency candidates (January 21 – February 17, 2003), the Journalists
Union of Armenia, Yerevan Press Club and Internews Armenia public organization
have issued a joint Address to the heads of official and private media, journalists
of Armenia, state structures and local self-administration bodies, candidates
The Address of the journalistic associations says:
“It is yet another important epoch for Armenia: 2003 is a year of presidential
and parliamentary elections.
The further development and democratization of the country, state and the society,
as well as the establishment of the civil society, is largely conditioned by
fair and transparent elections.
The role of media is inestimable in ensuring this fairness and transparency.
Unfortunately, the positive tendencies observed in the media activities during
the previous presidential and parliamentary elections did not get developed
over the past years; the polarization of media intensified.
Considering the alarming signs of the pre-election atmosphere that are already
existent in the media, we call on the management of all the media and journalists
- to be tolerant towards all the candidates and parties, not to allow offensive
remarks towards the candidates, not to deride their views and opinions;
- not to publish materials containing libel, blackmail and menaces;
- to provide as equal terms as possible for all the candidates to express
- to rely only on verified facts in their publications;
- if the editorial staff has received information of public interest but
has been unable to verify the data, to inform the readers, listeners or viewers
about it when publishing them;
- to enable a candidate to respond, if a criticizing piece concerning him
- to provide equal opportunities for all the candidates to use the paid print
space or airtime;
- to avoid implicit political advertising; to separate distinctly the pieces
containing political advertising from editorial and other stories.
We call on Public Television, Public Radio and state-owned media:
- to be guided only by the law during pre-election promotion;
- not to neglect important facts and events, to present the information about
the electoral campaign events of all the candidates in an unbiased manner;
- to avoid expressing likes and dislikes in editorial coverage.
We call on state and local self-administration bodies:
- not to restrict the freedom of speech by any action;
- not to impede the work of media and journalists;
- to provide equal conditions for the activities of all media.
We call on the candidates and parties:
- to realize that during the elections they are in the center of attention
of media and public; thus, any of their actions or words may become a target
- to be tolerant towards the publications in the media.”