The disreputable XIII Congress of the Writers Union of Armenia that took place on May 17-19 was accompanied not only by scandals, shameful statements, indecent squabbles among the opposing groups (a fact which has been covered by Armenian media), but also by an unexpected for this part of the Armenian society pressure on journalists.
As Yerevan Press Club was informed by Melania Bekarian, a journalist of “Aravot” daily, who had been covering the activities of the Congress, on May 19 when the Chairman of the Writers Union was to be elected, at the suggestion of that time Secretary of the Board Abgar Apinian a demand was made that media leave the session room. The journalists inquired as to the grounds for such measures. Having not heard any weighty arguments to substantiate the demand, the journalists refused to go.
Later, as the election time drew closer, the situation became especially hot, and the journalists were flooded with accusations: you are throwing dirt on us, we would have overcome our conflicts long ago if the media did not add wood into the fire, etc. These accusations were pronounced mostly by not so eminent but extremely aggressive part of the “people of letters”, who started a scuffle in the session room. The more notable writers, on the contrary, took the side of media: the response of the media is adequate to the Congress itself.
However, another episode became the most revolting one. When Lusineh Barseghian, a correspondent of “Haikakan Zhamanak” daily, was taking pictures of the ballot box, Abgar Apinian snatched the camera of the journalist and threw it aside. The camera was wrecked, and this was done by a person who himself used to be a journalist and now claimed the Chair of the Writers Union.
As Melania Bekarian admits, this sad story has two circumstances that inspire optimism. First, the justice won and a worthy person was elected to take over the Chair of the Writers Union of Armenia: the Chief Editor of “Garoun” magazine, writer Levon Ananian. Second, the journalists of differently oriented media showed solidarity and supported each other both during the Congress itself and when covering it.