YPC Weekly Newsletter

2007


ACADEMIC AND POLITICAL COMMUNITY CALLS ON ARMENIAN BROADCASTERS TO END THE INFORMATION BLOCKADE

On December 3 eleven professors of Yerevan State University released a statement
urging the TV companies of the country, including the Public Television of Armenia,
“not to forget their commitment to the society and to end the policy of information
blockade of the public at large”. Most of the signatories are heading chairs
and faculties at YSU, hold advanced academic degrees. Among them there are also
two acting members and two corresponding members of the RA National Science
Academy.

“All political forces operating in Armenia, including the opposition, are unanimous
in that the quality of the presidential elections, upcoming on February 19,
2008, will be of decisive significance for the future of the country. The access
to information is one of the most important indicators of the freedom and fairness
of elections. For various reasons print media are inaccessible for the vast
majority of RA citizens, and the TV air is their main information source on
current affairs in domestic politics. The media, TV companies in general and
the Public Television in particular must provide complete, comprehensive, balanced
and impartial information to the public. We are convinced that the vast majority
of Armenian TV companies, starting with Public Television, fail to perform this
function”, the statement of YSU professors says, in particular.

On the same day, on December 3, “Heritage” party voiced its concern with the
processes evolving in media domain. The party drew attention to the circumstances
that impede the compliance by media with their role in the formation of civil
society and democratic culture. In particular, the statement notes that during
parliamentary elections, held on May 12, 2007, some TV companies refused from
covering the pre-election campaign, and similar trend can be observed ahead
of presidential elections. In this regard “Heritage” urged: media to comply
with their main function, i.e., to assist the freedom of expression and realization
of the right to information; the TV companies to reconsider the high tariffs
for pre-election promotion that they had established, by at least setting them
equal to commercial advertising, to ensure that all presidency candidates have
equal opportunities to present their political programs and stances; the National
Commission on Television and Radio to takes measures preventing passive and
partial treatment of candidates by TV and radio companies; the control bodies
to refrain from holding revisions and audits at TV and radio companies during
the pre-election promotion.