YPC Weekly Newsletter

2001


MEDIA AND THE STATE COMMISSION DID NOT FIND COMMON GROUND

As it had previously been scheduled, on September 5 at the RA Ministry of State Property the session of the commission that deals with the privatization of objects used by media took place. The representatives of executive power and the media leaders invited to the session did not come to an agreement. As the Chief Editor of "Azg" daily Hakob Avedikian informed Yerevan Press Club,  "we agreed that we had not agreed about anything".

Thus, the RA Minster of State Property David Vardanian rejected the demand of the media to halt the privatization of  “Haymamoul” Press Dissemination Agency and conduct an independent audit of its activities. According to the Minister, the law makes no stipulation of the kind. Besides, as Mr. Vardanian assures, "Haymamoul" should be privatized to save this system and direct some of the funds obtained to repay the debts (about 100 million drams – $182 000) to the print media, and only by 50%. Notably, the state commission was also reluctant to enable the media to acquire a part of the stock of "Haymamoul".

The commission also declined another request of the media: until the privatization of the House of Press and 28, Isahakian street  is completed, the premises occupied by the media should be used by them free of charge but with no ownership rights. Instead, Minister Vardanian persistently advised to establish a condominium, in particular, in the House of Press, so that later every edition has a possibility to privatize its territory. Mr. Vardanian gave no specific answer to the question of what the price of the privatization will be, he only promised the prices will be most favorable.

Apparently, the dispute between the media and the executive power is to be arbitraged by the RA President Robert Kocharian. As David Vardanian stated, he will meet the head of the state and will introduce both attitudes to the problems discussed to him so that the existing controversies are overcome.

Meanwhile, the media leaders decided to call another meeting one of these days to determine their further course of action.