CSF ARMENIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM IS IN RUN-UP TO FORUM IN CHISINAU
On September 20-22, at “Arthur’s Aghveran Resort”, Yerevan Press Club held the seminar “Tasks of the Eastern Partnership CSF Armenian National Platform in the Run-Up to the Forum’s Meeting in Chisinau”. The event was organized with the support of Friedrich Ebert Foundation and attended by the ANP-member organizations, which were selected as official Armenian delegates to the Fifth Meeting of the EaP Civil Society Forum in Chisinau on October 4-5, 2013.
The seminar started with a brainstorming (moderated by Gevorg Ter-Gabrielian, Country Director of Eurasia Partnership Foundation) on the possible frameworks of EU-Armenia future cooperation, given the RA President Serzh Sargsian’s announcement about Armenia’s intention to join the Customs Union. YPC President Boris Navasardian, Co-President of the EaP CSF Steering Committee and Armenian National Platform’s Facilitator, talked about the priorities and aims of the Forum’s Meeting in Chisinau. YPC Expert Arevhat Grigorian presented different studies, administered by CSOs within the framework of Eastern Partnership. Stepan Grigorian, Chairman of Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, told about the activities of the CSF Armenian National Platform carried out over the year. Tsovinar Nazarian, member of the “Army in Reality” civic initiative, spoke about the informal civic activism movements in Armenia. The seminar ended with a discussion on the Armenian National Platform’s tasks at the EaP Civil Society Forum’s Meeting in Chisinau.
MEDIA INITIATIVES CENTER ESTABLISHED FIRST MEDIA MUSEUM IN ARMENIA
On September 24, in Yerevan, the Media Initiatives Center (formerly, Internews-Armenia) held the presentation of Lratun media museum. The first media museum in Armenia is established by the Media Initiatives Center within the framework of the “Alternative Resources in Media” program, supported by the USAID.
The museum’s multimedia concept presents the history of the coverage of significant events in Armenia over the last 25 years through the use of IT technologies. The idea to found a media museum came from Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism in Washington, D.C., which displays how the media describe events of public significance. Lratun’s establishment was initiated by Nouneh Sargsian, Managing Director of the Media Initiatives Center, who told the journalists that such museums are, at first, an opportunity to gather in one place the different types of media connected to important events, and second, this is a form of media literacy for the public at large understands what topics and why the media choose, how they depict them and what they leave to history.
The first exhibit of the newly-created media museum – “An Earthquake that Shook the Media” – displays how the press, television and documentarians of the time covered the 1988 devastating Spitak earthquake. According to Vahram Martirosian, Coordinator of Lratun project, they have chosen the Spitak earthquake as the first theme for two reasons: first, the earthquake opened up the Soviet Union to the world (humanitarian assistance to the victims of the disaster was provided by many countries, Ed. Note) and changed the media sector, the approach to news outlets and to journalism; second, this year is the 25th anniversary of the tragic event.
The travelling exhibition, “An Earthquake that Shook the Media”, will display in Gyumri on September 26 till October 2, later it will be in Vanadzor, October 5-15, in Martuni, October 15-19, and in Kapan, October 22-27.
Afterwards, the organizers of the country’s first media museum hope to find a place in Yerevan where it can operate permanently.
RADIO “HAY” GOES ON STRIKE IN PROTEST TO UNSCHEDULED TAX AUDIT
On September 25, Radio “HAY” announced that it goes on strike. The reason of the protest is the order of the RA State Revenue Committee about holding an unscheduled tax audit in broadcasting companies. According to the September 23, 2013 order of the State Revenue Committee’s Head, Radio “HAY” and other radio companies shall be subject to tax assessment to value the “production, mining and sale of minerals, turnover and volume of provided services, shortage of goods, factual, including average prices (tariffs) of sales”, notes Radio “HAY” in its statement. It further says that since the order specifies neither the scope of audit, which should be related to the radio station’s activities, nor the methods of assessment, the management of Radio “HAY” has banned the conducting of the audit. The radio station’s staff considers the actions of the State Revenue Committee illegal and regards them as an attempt to interfere in the activities of independent media, aimed at restricting freedom of speech in Armenia, mentions the statement.
The statement also informs that the strike will last up until October 4. The daily broadcast of Radio “Hay” will be interrupted for an hour, from 12.00, and during the rest of time the radio station will operate on an automatic programming mode.
PRESS CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF TIGRAN ARAKELIAN
Starting from September 21, the daily newspapers “Aravot”, “Hraparak”, “Zhamanak”, “Zhoghovurd”, “Chorrord Ishkhanutiun”, “Haykakan Zhamanak”, as well as “168 Hours”, issued three times a week, are posting on their first or second pages a slogan – “We recognize Tigran Arakelian a political prisoner and demand his immediate release”. According to Aravot.am, the campaign is carried out in agreement with the Armenian National Congress party. Tigran Arakelian is an activist representing the party.
It should be noted that Tigran Arakelian was arrested in connection to the incident with police that happened in Yerevan on August 9, 2011 and was charged with using violence against authorities. On July 20, 2012 the Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork-Marash Administrative Districts of Yerevan sentenced him to six years in prison. The defendant appealed to the RA Criminal Court of Appeals, which dismissed the complaint. The RA Court of Cassation partially granted the complaint and returned the case to the Court of Appeals for new consideration. The trial at the Criminal Court of Appeals started on August 5, 2013 and is still ongoing. During all this time, Tigran Arakelian is in custody; the court rejects the repeated motions of his lawyer to change the preventive measure.