On March 21, 2008 at 01:05 AM there was an arson attack on Gyumri Journalists’s Club “Asparez” President Nadezhda Hakobyan’s car, which at that time was in use by the Club’s Board Chairman Levon Barseghyan.
Levon Barseghyan is sure, that this arson attack is directly related with his efforts to protect GALA TV and the strict criticism of authorities voiced by him on that and a number of other occasions. He is also sure, that this incident is related to the number of threatening phone calls received by the club, as well as the arson attack attempted on the night of January 18, when the club’s window was put on fire.
It is also noteworthy, that on February 25 the Gyumri mayor had directly insulted and threatened “GALA” TV and “Asparez” Club, stating, that “…there are a couple of sections that disgust people. This is the “GALA section” and “Asparez section”… it is time for them come to their senses, too”. At the time the local police refused to file a criminal case based on the appeal of “Asparez” against the mayor for threatening and insulting them based on this sentence, “due to lack of corpus delicti (body of crime)”.
Meanwhile, according to the data by 22:30, on March 20th, the amount raised in support of GALA TV has reached 11.673.570 drams, which is around 46,47 % of the amount needed to save this small regional TV company. This increadable activity of citizens in support of Freedom of Speech has obviously raised the dislike of the authorities, and the idiosyncratic Gyumri mayor in particular. The latter has spoken on Gyumri “Shant” TV at around 9 PM on March 20th, when the GALA Telethon was in progress on GALA TV channel, and has urged the supporters of the TV to stop helping GALA, and claiming, that the small TV facing a closure if vital amount is not collected, has already received the necessary amount from the HHSH (Levon Ter-Petrossian’s party), and now they’re simply lying and collecting money for their personal gain. Needless to say that GALA supporters deny all these charges.
At any rate, this is a very troublesome development, and if the Armenian authorities want to do anything useful for this country, they should make sure the Gyumri mayor and all the state backed criminals working in various government institutions in Gyumri, including the National Security Service, Tax inspection and the Administrative Court, are fired from their positions and serve their terms for attacking the highest values of Freedom of Speech and Expression, guaranteed by the Supreme Law of this country – THE ARMENIAN CONSTITUTION!