Author of The Book about Armenian Army Faces Prosecution

Hovhannes Ishkhanian, a young Armenian writer, is facing prosecution for a limited edition (300 copies) book he published, which the Armenian police claim contains pornography. Continue reading

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Armenia’s Broadcast License Fiasco

NCTR Votes on A1+ License

Armenia -- NCTR votes on "A1+" and "ArmNews" Applications for Broadcast License, Yerevan, 16Dec2010, © Photo by Gegham Vardanian

Armenia’s embattled A1+ TV company, which has been off the air for almost a decade, has been defeated in another frequency tender administered by the state regulator after allegedly submitting fraudulent documents. Continue reading

Documentary film by Tigran Khzmalyan censored in Armenia

The screening of Tigran Khzmalyan’s documentary film “Sardarapat”, produced with state funding, has been banned. The presentation of the film was scheduled on September 26th and 27th in Yerevan’s “Moscow” cinema theater.

Hetq has published the full script of the documentary, which contains some revealing details on the behavior of the Armenian government of the First Armenian Republic, portreying the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun led authorities as incompetent cowards and traitors, ready to surrender brightest heros of the nation, like Andranik to the mercy of Turkish army. I could not stop thinking, that the film has been banned by the efforts of ARF – the party is one of the most influencial political forces in Armenia today and is member to the ruling coalition, along with Republican and “Prosperous Armenia” parties. To complicate matters even further, Tigran Khzmalyan, one of the leading film directors in Armenia today, has openly voiced his support for the Levon Ter-Petrossian led opposition on several occasions. Knowing Ter-Petrossian’s dislike of ARF (on December 28, 1994, President Levon Ter-Petrossian in a famous television speech banned the ARF, which was the nation’s leading opposition party, along with Yerkir, the country’s largest daily newspaper.), it is easy to establish a link between supporting Ter-Petrossian and wishing to blackmail ARF – the party in rulling coalition.

And while it is hard to established, whether the biased film director has produced a POSSIBLY biased documentary or not, it is clear, that banning the film by the state is censorship – in it most brutal form. An act absolutely forbidden by the Armenian Constitution. Will anyone answer for this crime?

President’s press secretary says media restrictions will be lifted, justifies state censorship

In the course of the briefing that took place today, the RA President’s Press Secretary Victor Soghomonyan has stated, that the restrictions imposed on the Armenian mass media introduced by Presidential decree as part of the limitations under a declared state of emergency, are temporary in nature, and in a couple of days such restrictions will be lifted.

President’s press secretary also spoke of the modification of media restrictions by Presidential decree on March 13th, after which a number of independent and pro-opposition newspapers attempted to publish, but were again faced with illegal preemptive censorship by state security officers, and in sign of protest refused to publish their issues prepared for March 14th. Victor Soghomonyan attempted to justify the anti-consitutional steps of the authorities, noting, that on the issues prepared for publication on March 13th, “Zhamanak-Yerevan” carried an article, claiming, that the authorities are concealing dozens of death casualties of March 1 events and that the authorities had planted provocateurs among the protesters; “Haik” newspaper had alleged, that the detainees are being beaten by police, and that there are political prisoners in the country. “Isn’t this provocation?” Presidential press secretary has asked. Moreover, according to Mr. Soghomonyan, the fact that the “Haykakan Zhamanak” had prepared for publication an interview with its editor-in-chief Nikol Pashinyan, who is officially wanted by the authorities, “is simply not-acceptable”.

After all the brilliant blunter stated above, Victor Soghomonyan has gone even further and remarked that “it is technically impossible” to block websites on the web, referring to “rumors among the public”, according to which after the introduction of the state of emergency certain Internet-publications have been blocked by the authorities.

Armenian President Elect Accepting Questions on His Blog

Armenian president elect Serzh Sargsyan has started taking questions from internet users on his blog. The questions will be taken all day today and tomorrow. Serzh Sargsyan has promised to answer all questions. This is a unique chance and a welcome attempt, to address some pressing issues under conditions of information blockade and internet censorship, forged by the running president Robert Kocharyan. The post, under which users can put their questions, reads:

Dear Internet users, I’m happy to welcome you in my personal blog. Please note, that questions with insult and rhetoric speech will not be accepted. All questions will get responces within few days. The most interesting questions will be included in the broadcast version of the interview.

Still, one has to wonder, whether internet users will not shy away from asking really tough questions under the current state of emergency situation and the possibility to trace down the IP address and other informtion about the users asking the question, even if the questions are asked anonymously?

At any rate, I would strongly urge and encourage everyone reading and commenting on this blog to go and ask their qeustions. This is a rare opportunity, and one, we cannot afford to miss!