YPC Weekly Newsletter

2002


VULGARITY BEYOND JUSTIFICATION

The press continues to discuss the publication in "Or" newspaper dated November 14, which allowed it to make a most indecent intrusion into the private life of Aram Abrahamian, the Chief Editor of "Aravot" daily.

The fact that the author persist in justifying this, mildly speaking, vulgarity, with high-flown aims, namely the zealous defense of the purity and morality of the journalistic profession, causes even greater repudiation. The appeals to self-purification, combined with intimate photographs, sound blasphemous. The lofty phrases to the effect that "we are doing this to teach other colleagues a lesson" are nothing but blackmail. The precedent is hideous and extremely dangerous, primarily, because it arose on the "fecund" pre-election soil. The war of compromising materials, setting media against each other, throwing dirt at someone’s order – all this has strong chances to become the everyday reality of the "fourth estate", should its representatives, who unanimously condemned the trick of the so far little known newspaper, tomorrow forget the disgust with which they said "no" to such a "day" ("Or" is translated into English as day).

On November 15 a number of media and journalistic associations of Armenia called to boycott "Or" (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, November 9-15, 2002). During the coming days the statement was joined by "Iravunk" newspaper and "Asparez" Journalists’ Club.

On November 16 the Chief Editor of "Hayastani Hanrapetutiun" official daily Tigran Farmanian, condemning the incident, noted: we have received back what we have given. "The intolerance, the wish to laugh at the private life of the "not our folks", search for a target to insult – all this, we need to admit, is quite common for our media and often becomes a purpose. It looks like the information sphere, moreover, the society itself does not only reject, but often even welcome such rules for the ‘game’."

In the statement of Vardan Aloyan, the Chief Editor of the official newspaper "Respublika Armenia", and Karl Yalanuzian, the Director of the Armenian Branch of "Mir" Interstate TV and Radio Company, contains advice to "Or": instead of publishing obscenities, attend to "subjects, which really deserve criticism". Similar "soap operas", as the authors of the statement are saying confidently, will neither increase the circulation, not the reputation with the reader, let alone make the atmosphere in the Armenian media world healthier – which "Or" calls its primary concern.

On November 19 the RA Ministry of National Security denied its partiality to the appearance and dissemination of the videotape, the shots from which were published in "Or" newspaper. The statement of the MNS Department of Public and Press Relations stresses that the Ministry is engaged in much more important state issues and the privacy of any individual is beyond the scope of its interest. Condemning the intrusion into privacy, the agency noted that this "is in no way compliant with the norms of journalistic and human ethics".