Levon Ter-Petrossian. “They will not be able to manage this society”

On March 11 Levon Ter-Petrossian met with the reporters. Based on the post-electoral tradition, this meeting as well took place at the first president’s house that is still being controlled by the special guards’ forces. Ter-Petrossian covered the Constitutional Court decision. He reminded the details of his speech at the Constitutional Court trial, drawing the attention of the court to two legal issues.

The first was about the article 78.1 of the Electoral Code, according to which the prime minister could be registered as a presidential candidate only in one case – if he had the status of an acting president of Armenia.The second issue was about the article 53.1 of the Constitution, according to which “during martial law or state of emergency no elections of the President of the Republic shall be held.” According to Ter-Petrossian, CC was obligated to express its attitude concerning these two issues, reaching a certain conclusion, which, however, did not happen.“This means one thing – the Constitutional Court avoided covering the most objectionable grounds putting the legitimacy of the past elections under question, in order not to face a legal dead-end or turning up in an awkward state,” Ter-Petrossian announced.

Today Ter-Petrossian has also received the refusal of the city administration, in response to his application to get permission for organizing a rally at the Freedom Square on March 21. He said they would continue applying to get permissions for the following days, too, although he did not exclude that, up to April 9, the authorities would try not to permit conducting any mass event.“For 5 months, there have been no infringements on our behalf; no incidents have been registered during numerous rallies and gatherings. Did anything happen to change the people in one day? The following thing happened – the authorities applied truncheons against the people, and an unmanageable situation was created. However, I am sure that the situation was being wonderfully managed by the authorities,” Levon Ter-Petrossian said.

He covered the future actions, saying that “we have never gone for non-political tension to date, and are not going to. They are going to fight by all the legal means – civilized, clear, and uncompromising. According to the first president, “70 percent of AAM board, all the leaders of the territorial headquarters, most members of the central headquarters are arrested.” But the mass arrests and the happened events make the authorities more anxious, according to the first president, “A lot of blood has been shed. The authorities feel responsibility for that. OSCE/ODIHR has presented a very strict assessment. There has never been a stricter report after 1995. These are phenomena that cannot be ignored.”Ter-Petrossian once more emphasized that today we have another society – society that “is different from what we had 5 months ago.” It will be difficult to manage this society in conditions of such a lack of legitimacy of the authorities.According to Ter-Petrossian, the authorities talk about the necessity of a dialogue but “they do everything to disrupt that possibility, with all their steps contributing to a tenser situation.” Ter-Petrossian repeated his approach that he had presented at the Constitutional Court –taking the suggestions of the European Union statement as a basis and turning them into a plan of actions. The European Union had offered to stop the state of emergency, release the arrested people, eliminate the restrictions of the media activities and implement an independent investigation of the incidents on March 1. According to Ter-Petrossian, the acceptance of these offers can become a full-fledged basis for negotiations and a dialogue.

Statement on media

On March 2, following the day of announcing a state of emergency in Yerevan, the employees of National Security Service (NSS) visited editorial offices of newspapers and presented a short letter, without a signature and a seal, warning that the activities of newspapers would be suspended if the newspaper publications contained information that was different from the official information. On the same night, the materials of newspapers taken to the printing house were checked in detail by NSS employees, and there was a verbal instruction to prohibit the printing.

Taking into consideration that the information called official is at least one-sided and does not reflect the whole picture, being continuously broadcast by about a dozen TV channels, certain newspapers simply decided not to get published, and the others turned up in a forced idle time.

This becomes a basis for us to announce that the RA authorities have just prohibited the activities of the media that are undesirable for them, especially when the demand to publish exclusively official information has not in the least concerned “their own” media that are being published in the conditions of state of emergency.

To make the information terror complete, Internet web sites have also been blocked. Moreover, advertising is being broadcast instead of the CNN and Euronews newscasts covering the events in Armenia. The broadcasting of Liberty radio station was totally suspended.

We announce that all these things not only do not contribute to toning down the tension existing in the public but also deepen the atmosphere of hatred and hostility. The overwhelming majority of the media spreading information that is called official and, especially, the press speakers with their aggression just contribute to igniting unhealthy moods and deepening the mistrust in the government.

In the created situation, our constitutional right to spread and receive information has been violated; the universally-acknowledged principles of freedom of speech and the press freedom have been infringed; the media sustain material losses; censorship is being implemented in Armenia, and our country has turned up in a complete informational blockade.

A1+ chairman
Aravot daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Yerevan Press Club president
Zhamanak Yerevan daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Internews managing director
Haykakan Zhamanak daily newspaper deputy editor-in-chief
Hayk daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Lragir web site editor-in-chief
168 Zham newspaper editor-in-chief
Hetk online newspaper editor-in-chief
Hraparak daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper editor-in-chief
Taregir newspaper editor-in-chief
ArmeniaNow online magazine editor

Bloggers Love Media – Media Love Blogs, so Who Loves More?

Armenian blogs have always been attentive towards Mass Media, although you can’t really call it love, in part because there’s not much to love in the Armenian Mass Media these days. As to the newly demonstrated love of the Armenia media towards Bloggers, Ahousekeeper has very rightly noted:

“Aravot” newspaper has discovered the Armenian Blogosphere. Talking to Uzogh, and later, searching through our journals, they have come to the conclusion, that Armenian Bloggers “don’t like political games and disdain homosexuals”. So now you know what questions journalists are most interested in, don’t you?

And while some Bloggers appreciate the fact, that the Armenian media have finally entered the 21st century, others are wondering, why, of all issues discussed in the Blogosphere, the Aravot journalist had been so interested only in Bloggers’ attitude towards homosexuals? At any rate, despite the strange conclusions made by the journalist and obviously “provocative” headline, it was a pretty good article, the Armenian News Blog has concluded. Let us remind once again, that A1+ and Radio Hay are the two media who love Bloggers more, and loved them earlier then others. Both of these media outlets already have set up their own blogs. A1+ blog is located at http://a1plus.blogsome.com, and Radio Hay blog is at http://www.radiohay.am.
Coming to the “reciprocal” love of Bloggers for the Armenian media, here’s what we read on Ogostos‘s journal about ALM TV company – a TV company – widely regarded among the more educated young group of the population in Armenia, as a disgraceful TV channel, which could only be laughed at:

The “ALM” channel went on air on metric frequency, which means – it was broadcast all over Armenia.
A most incredible TV channel was thus created in the world. Different from all others. Television, who’s owner has the right to do everything. He can broadcast 24 hours of a party held at the “ALM” for New year if he likes. Or, if he likes, he can show a boy singing 24 hours of traditional Yezidi songs. He can talk politics 24 hours in the most awkward key… if he likes. And if he likes, he can announce to the whole wide world “darned Yezdis, I invite them here to sing, and in return, they don’t vote for me! this means, they won’t sing on my channel any more!”.

One more interesting Mass Media discussion was started on Uzogh’s blog. The blogger had placed a news video from the Haylur news program of Public TV of Armenia, covering the recent pre-election meeting of Levon Ter-Petrossian with voters in the town of Talin, during which a man from the crowd was beaten up by the supporters of the presidential candidate, in response to his yell: “Talin people are not supporting you!”.

The blogger had asked other Armenian Bloggers working in the sphere of media, what they thought about the news item, and whether it was ethical or no. In response, Mark Grigoryan had come up with a detailed analyses, pointing out that:

Generally speaking, the material could have been done much more professionally. I think, that the Public TV of Armenia, undoubtedly, should provide news coverage of much higher quality than that.

The other respondents to Uzogh’s inquiry also noted, that the news item wasn’t balanced enough.
To conclude, we can state, that while the Armenian Mass Media are just doing the first steps towards discovering the Armenian Blogosphere, the Bloggers, on the contrary, have been talking the crap out of the Armenian mass media for quite some time now, and looking at the current trends in pre-electoral media coverage in the country, looks like they’ll have much more to dwell upon in the coming week or two.

The audio version of this article will be broadcast on Radio Hay FM 104.1 on Saturday, 11:00

Radio Hay Interested in Blogging

Radio Hay radio-station, broadcast in Yerevan on 104.1, is getting really interested in blogging and Blogosphere. The radio company started out by broadcasting the radio program made by the Internews based on my article: “Levonator and Serzhadevil in Focus of Bloggers’ Attention” last Saturday, January 26th, 2008. The second issue of the program will be broadcast on Saturday, February 2, 2008, based on the article: “Democracy is when idiots vote…“, in their 11:00 o’clock program dedicated to the 2008 Presidential elections.

Radio Hay have also launched a blog – dedicated to the 2008 Presidential elections, featuring news, polls, a portfolio of documents related to elections, links to useful resources. As I’m closely involved with helping set-up this blog, you’re welcome to submit any comments about it here, on this blog, or at the blog on Radio Hay server.

For broadcast frequencies of Radio Hay in other regions of Armenia check out the following list:

Continue reading “Radio Hay Interested in Blogging”

Rally in Istanbul Marking 1 Year Anniversary of Hrant Dink's Assasination

Armenian journalist, editor of Armenian newspaper AGOS – Hrant Dınk was kılled ın Istanbul on 19th January 2007.
Today I took part in a rally in Istanbul, marking the 1 year anniversary of Hran’t Dink’s tragic assasination. There was very little I understood, but the atmosphere was sad and angry. The wave of people – perhaps 80-100,000 was flowing like an endless river, blocking the street in front of the AGOS newspaper office. People were demanding justice and uncovering the true motives of the organizers of the assasination.
I know very little about Hrant Dink even today, despite all that has been said and written after his murder. I know Hrand Dink’s views earned him enemies among the Armenian diaspora, Armenian community in Istanbul and in Armenia itself. I know he was a champion of Turkish – Armenian reconcilliation, and he was an exceptionally brave man.
As an Armenian taking part in the rally, I was there only because Hrant Dink is Armenian, and was killed, from what I understood, exactly for his nationality.
However, for those thousands of people protesting in the street, he was much more then an Armenian. Yesterday I also I found out, that he is one of the symbols of Turkey’s future. Yesterday I also understood, that Turkey’s future is bright, if it could trigger such a major rally a year after the murder of the Armenian journalist, because people really care about what’s happening with their country and their citizens – regardless of their nationality.

Hrant Dink – brave man – farewell to you. Rest in peace.

More photos on my Web Album, YouTube video here

Sirusho Chosen for Eurovision 2008!


The Armenia blog is apolitical as ever – thus giving me a pleasant break from reading all the various accounts of the LTP rally. Noting, that Armenian pop singer Sirusho is going to represent Armenia during Eurovision-2008 international song contest, which will take place in Serbian Belgrade next year, Rhyne remarks:

Let’s hope the public is able to pick a song that doesn’t automatically guarantee failure, like last year’s. Unfortunately, it is not yet known whether innocent bystanders will be beat, stabbed, or shot, but keep checking back.

Interestingly A1plus blog had also written about Sirusho/Eurovision earlier, asking a question:

Do you think Sirusho will be able to present our country at its best? And what do you think about the Eurovision overall?

Tax-Police Ultimatum to Gyumri GALA TV

On 23 October, 2007, at 15:00, as reported by the Jounralists’ Club “Asparez”, 6 representatives of RA State Taxation Agency visited “GALA” TV and officially informed its founder Vahan Khachatryan that they will visit him again in 3 days time for a “regular inspection”.
The following is the list of visitors:

  1. Gagik Ohanyan – head of RA State Tax Service first operative investigative unit
  2. Hovik Havhannisyan – elder oper-officer
  3. Harutyun Sukiasyan – chief oper-officer
  4. Armen Hakobyan – oper-officer of RA State Tax Service, Shirak Regional Unit
  5. Vardges Stepanyan – elder oper-officer
  6. Samvel Aghababyan – chief oper-officer

The representatives of the State Tax service have been highly polite and respectful. The deadline for the mentioned 3 day period ends on October 26, 15:00.
Chairman of JCA Chouncil Levon Barseghyan
PS: Also see the announcement of the founder of GALA TV Vahan Khachatryan and the announcement of 6 NGOs regarding the developments around GALA TV.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Sksela rocked for freedom on October 7. I liked it. There were a lot of shortcomings, etc., but it was fun, and I enjoyed myself. The concert happened despite numerous refusals from the Yerevan City Hall to allow it. The concert happened to prove the authorities, that they can’t stop freedom, and they can’t stop rock, and they can’t stop Sksela from rocking for freedom. I guess the original idea of the concert was long lost way back in May, after continuous refusals of the City Hall to allow it to take place. And I guess it really didn’t matter anymore who sings, and how well it is organized, and what messages are written on the wall, and why Bambir couldn’t make it, and why was there so much tight security (which I personally disapprove).
As with all the previous Sksela events, this one was also covered intensively by bloggers. Among the reactions, there was also this one, by a friend and a man who in many many issues thinks so much like me.
Onnik – while I might readily agree with all you have said on the post, you and I know well enough, that it is easy to manipulate facts and the writing mood in a way, that even the worst event can seem quite OK and vice versa. Onnik – I think you were not objective when covering that event and you were manipulating facts and moods. Onnik – I disapprove of what you said, or rather, I disapprove the manner in which you said it, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Onnik – Sksela is all about giving you that right, and making sure, that I on my turn have my right and freedom to respond.

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