“PRESS CLUB” SHOWS TO DEAL WITH UPCOMING ELECTIONS FROM NOW ON
On October 3 on the evening air of “Yerkir Media” TV another “Press Club” was aired. Ahead of the presidential elections of 2008 the format of the program has undergone certain changes: now, apart from its guests, politicians and public figures, the possible presidency candidates and the parties that support them, the discussions would also include studio audience, representing students of Yerevan universities and NGOs. The debate subject would be the upcoming elections.
On October 3 the guest of the program host, the President of Yerevan Press Club Boris Navasardian, was the Chairman of Armenian Sociological Association Gevorg Poghosian. The participants of ”Press Club” discussed, in particular, such issues as the importance of upcoming presidential elections, the specifics of the current domestic political situation, the sentiments of voters.
The next program of “Press Club” cycle will be aired by “Yerkir Media” on October 10 at 21.40.
The “Press Club” cycle is produced under a project of Media Diversity Institute, supported by Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation-Armenia.
ARMENIA AND ITS NEIGHBORS: INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION IN ODZUN
On September 28-30 in Odzun (Lori region) “Reflection of the Relations of Armenia with Its Neighbor Countries in Armenian Media” seminar was held. The event was organized by Yerevan Press Club under the project “Karabagh Issue and Armenian-Turkish Relations in the Pre-Election Rhetoric of Armenian Political Figures”, supported by Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The seminar brought together the representatives of the leading print and broadcast media of the country.
The interactive discussion developed around three major subjects: parliamentary elections in Turkey and their influence on the situation in the region; prospects of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and the resolution of Mountainous Karabagh problem; possible scenarios of regional development and the place of Armenia in them. The journalists presented the situation in each of their media: how frequently it addresses the given issue, whether it has distinct policy for its coverage, to what extent journalists/authors have a right to express a viewpoint, different from the editorial stance. The discussions were wrapped up respectively by the YPC project coordinator Anna Simonian, the head of the Analytical Center of Globalization and Regional Cooperation Stepan Grigorian and the observer of “Golos Armenii” newspaper Ruben Margarian.
PHOTOFIT OF AN ASSAULTER OF “ISKAKAN IRAVUNK” EDITOR PUBLISHED
On September 29 a number of Armenian media published a photofit of one of the two strangers that assaulted the Chief Editor of “Iskakan Iravunk” newspaper Hovhannes Galajian on September 15. As it has been reported, the incident occurred in the building of the editorial office. The head of “Iskakan Iravunk” was beaten by iron rods and hospitalized with a brain concussion and bruises (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 14-20, 2007).
As YPC was told by Hovhannes Galajian, he did not remember the second offender, because he attacked from behind. On September 24 Hovhannes Galajian left hospital and is currently back to his work as an editor.
ANOTHER NEWSPAPER FAILED TO REACH READERS – THIS TIME IN ARARAT REGION
The issues of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” newspaper of September 26 and 28, 2007 did not reach the readers of Artashat city and the neighboring villages of Ararat region. This was stated to YPC by the Chief Editor of the newspaper Shogher Matevosian. According to her, the distribution of these issues was prevented through the effort of the head of the local branch of “Haymamul” press dissemination agency. In the opinion of “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun”, the reason for the action was the article “With Much Gratitude and Best Regards – Henrik Abrahamian”, published on September 26, and the subsequent report of the editorial staff about the disappearance of the previous issue from the newspaper stalls of Artashat. The publication was dealing with RA National Assembly deputy from Ararat region Henrik Abrahamian, the brother of the Deputy Prime Minister, the RA Minister for Territorial Governance Hovik Abrahamian. The article described the background of the deputy and his current entrepreneurial and parliamentary activities. “(…) Newspapers can always be collected, yet this will certainly not change the moral image of Henrik Abrahamian. Do not have doubts”, “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun” noted, in particular, in its communication of September 28.
Similar incidents, when readers were deprived of a chance to buy the newspaper, occurred earlier, too – both with other outlets and with the same “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun”. Thus, on September 11 the print run of “Zhamanak-Yerevan” was bought out from the stalls – as the daily believes, on the initiative of NA Deputy Karen Karapetian (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, September 7-13, 2007).
Actually, as “Azg” daily reports on September 29, 2007, the rumors about the possible sale of “Haymamul” stalls to a private person that had been around for a long time have come true – the deal has been struck. “Azg” writes that according to reliable sources the new owner of 221 newspaper stalls of “Haymamul” in Yerevan and regions, as well as the delivery vehicles is now “Press Stand” company. “Haymamul” currently holds only the administrative facilities and the subscription sales of press, “Azg” informs. Whether this will benefit the print media or harm them remains to be seen.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION CENTER NAMED THE BEARERS OF GOLD KEYS AND A RUSTY LOCK
On September 28 at “Regine” hotel in Yerevan the Freedom of Information Center announced the results of its annual competition. The event was dedicated to the International Right to Know Day (established in 2002) and organized with the assistance of OSCE Office in Yerevan.
The most open institution in 2007 was recognized to be the Charentsavan municipality.
The Yerevan municipality was awarded for the introduction of the most effective electronic system, intended for the citizens’ address to administrative agencies.
The public organization that is most active and efficient in using its right to information was named to be “Asparez” Journalist’s Club of Gyumri.
The journalist who is most consistent in covering the freedom of information issues and using the RA Law “On Freedom of Information” was announced to be Angela Stepanian (“ALT” TV company of Armavir).
The most active defenders of their right to information among students were named the students of the Yerevan State University Journalism Department.
By tradition all persons and organizations, listed above, received prizes of a gold key – as a symbol of openness.
The most closed local self-government body was recognized to be Armavir municipality, who was awarded a rusty lock – a symbol of secrecy.