YPC Weekly Newsletter

2002


WHERE HAS THE PRINT RUN OF "ARAVOT" DAILY DISAPPEARED?

The circumstances of the mysterious disappearance of the print run of "Aravot" daily on October 31 (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, October 26 – November 1, 2002) remain unclear. The Deputy Director of “Haymamul” Press Dissemination Agency Arshaluys Manukian in reply to the question of Yerevan Press Club about what had happened said he could not give a comprehensive answer. It is only known that the whole print run was bought out. Who was the buyer? Mr. Manukian was unable to answer this question, too.

Meanwhile, "Aravot" daily has put forth its version of the incident, according to which the reason for the disappearance of the print run was the story "Those Close to the Prime Minister Abusing", published by the daily. The story told, in particular, about the illegal actions of the senior officials of the Government, including the aide of the Prime Minister and the former Head of Government Office during the privatization of the resort complex in Tsaghkadzor. In the opinion of "Aravot", the delivery of the newspaper to the reader was impeded by people who were seriously worried that compromising information will be disclosed.

As to Prime Minister Andranik Margarian, he was informed about the incident and promised to determine the reasons and punish those responsible. Hence, according to the recently released communication of Department of Information and Public Relations of the RA Government, the Director of "Haymamul", Haikaram Mkhitarian, reported to the Prime Minister, that the Head of Supplies Department of the Agency Artavazd Arsenian was dismissed, and the Deputy Director Arshaluys Manukian received an administrative punishment. Measures are taken to eliminate similar occurences in future.

This seems to have ended the incident. As it is often the case, the blame was placed on the "switchman".

On its behalf "Aravot" responded to the measures taken with a confession that the daily "continues to view "Haymamul" to be a reliable partner and is satisfied with the work of many years that the Head of Supplies Department Arsenian did". Economically, the newspaper was not damaged, that is, "Haymamul" will pay the full amount owed to the edition, but "Aravot" regrets its inability to convey the up-to-date information to its readers.  

As it has been reported, in their Statement Yerevan Press Club and the Journalists Union of Armenia qualified the disruption of dissemination of the newspaper as a crime, gravely infringing the rights of citizens to information and a violation of Article 24 of the RA Constitution and international agreements adhered to by Armenia. Yet, the law and order bodies have not responded to the demand of the journalistic associations to find and punish those guilty.