TURKISH JOURNALISTS VISITED ARMENIA
On January 11-15, a group of Turkish journalists visited Yerevan. The journalists represented “Hurriyet”, “Cumhuriyet”, “Turkish Daily News” newspaper and “HaberTurk” news agency, and their visit to Armenia was organized as a part of a joint program by Yerevan Press Club, Association of Diplomacy Correspondents of Turkey and Center for Global Peace (USA). This project with a year’s duration launched in January, 2002, envisages mutual visits of Armenian and Turkish journalists to get to know the lives of the two countries, the meetings with the public and political figures and the subsequent coverage in their media. The arrival of Turkish colleagues was the first in the program.
On January 12 the Turkish journalists visited also Stepanakert where they were received by the President of Mountainous Karabagh Arkady Ghukasian and the MK Minster of Foreign Affairs Naira Melkumian.
On January 14, in Yerevan a round table meeting titled “Coverage of Relations between Armenia and Turkey by the Media of Two Countries” was conducted. During the meeting presentations were made by Yusuf Kanli, Managing Editor of “Turkish Daily News”, the Chairman of the Association of Diplomacy Correspondents of Turkey, and Hakob Chakrian, Observer of “Azg” daily, expert in Turkish studies. The representatives of Armenian media discussed with their Turkish colleagues the nature and the content of publications on the bilateral relations in Armenian and Turkish media, as well as the current regional issues. On the same day the Turkish journalists met Tigran Torosian, the Vice-Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia.
INFORMATION ON STATE REGISTRATION IS NOW PROVIDED FOR MONEY
On January 17, Yerevan Press Club addressed Sergey Karapetian, employee of the Division for Registering Public Associations, Non-for-Profit Legal Persons, Unions and Media of the State Register Department of the RA Ministry of Justice, with a request of providing information on the number of media registered in Armenia as of January, 2002. In reply Mr. Karapetian said that according to the RA Law “On State Registration of Legal Persons”, enacted since August, 2001, this information is provided only after an appropriate application and the payment of a state fee of 1,000 drams (about $2). Having expressed his disagreement with the innovation, Mr. Karapetian found it difficult to mention the specific terms of the provision of information after the necessary procedure is carried out by the applicant.
Sharing the disagreement of Sergey Karapetian, we looked up the Law “On Sate Registration of Legal Persons”, Article 4 of which stipulates, in particular, that “(…) a fee is charged for the use of information from the state register, and the amount (…) of this fee is defined by the RA Law “On State Fees”.
Unfortunately, the Armenian journalists have long been used to the overcoming of all possible barriers on the thorny path to official information. Yet, in this specific case the situation gains special “piquancy”, considering the fact that the draft law on freedom of information awaits its consideration at the spring session of the National Assembly.
DEPARTMENT ON INFORMATION AND PUBLICATIONS REORGANIZED INTO PUBLICATIONS AGENCY
On January 17 at a session of the Government of Armenia the decision of reorganizing the Department of Information and Publications at the RA Government and its transfer to the authority of the RA Ministry of Culture, Youth Issues and Sports as a publications agency was made. The agency is to be headed by Edward Militonian, previously in charge of the Department of Information and Publications.
Since the foundation of the Department in early 1997 the journalistic community kept questioning its necessity, as the mandate of the Department in the media area has never been clearly defined.