A1plus have started posting comprehensive video news digests from the developments in the regions of Armenia on their YouTube Channel. Below is the 9 minute piece for last week. Very interesting news, and certainly a welcome initiative.
With the initiative of Sksela youth movement and support of Center for Regional Development / Transparency Armenia, a group of 34 journalists and civil society activists, including representatives of Sksela youth movement, CRD / TI, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Yerevan Press Club, Helsinki Citizens Assembly – Yerevan, PanArmenian Association of Women visited Gyumri today, to take part in the rally staged in support of Gala TV company, which has come under the attack of tax inspection service and Gyumri municipality, after its refusal to comply with the directions of the authorities, not to broadcast the announcement about the first opposition rally on October 26 with the participation of Former President Levon Ter-Petrossian.
Around 1000 people gathered at the rally in support of the small regional TV company, despite the freezing cold. E-channel has more:
Armed with the posters Paws off from Gala, our Favorite Child!; Authorities change, Freedom is eternal; Enemies of Freedom of Speech will be punished by the Law and, Public Ignorance, and that Day will come by the Damnation of God, the gathering organizers and participants left Asparez journalists’ club for the Theater Square in Gyumri.
Levon Barseghyan, the chairman of Asparez club opened the meeting on behalf of the headquarters of freedom of speech and Gala support. He briefly presented the recent events around Gala, repeating that the officials involved in this case will have to answer for it.
“I am glad that here we have everybody that considers himself free, that is not scared to protect his and others’ freedom, that has understood that people closing Gala TC yesterday closed A1+ and Noyan Tapan and tomorrow are going to dictate to them how to live, how to breathe, what to listen to, what to watch, and how to think. We are not going to permit closing of Gala – they will not manage to do it,” Levon Barseghyan said.
At the end of the meeting, Levon Barseghyan congratulated the coming New Year of the gathered people, promising “to bring black New Year over those closing Gala” if that rally and their protests had no influence. The last sentence was also awarded by the encouragement of the gathered people.
The Headquarters of Protecting Freedom of Speech and Gala TV
are inviting a rally in support of Gala TV and The Freedom of Speech and Expression for us all. (The Gyumri Municipality is duly informed)
The rally is scheduled on
DECEMBER 19, AT 4 P.M.
IN GYUMRI THEATRE SQUARE
ALL THE PEOPLE, WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES FREE, AND WHO ARE NOT AFRAID OF PROTECTING OTHERS’ RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
WE WON’T LET THEM SHUT DOWN GALA TV
THEY WON’T SUCCEED IN DOING IT
Levon Barseghyan and Vahan Tumasyan
On behalf of The Headquarters of Protecting Freedom of Speech and Gala TV
[Via Echannel: 2007-12-13 05:31] At the Gyumri residence of the commercial court, the trial City administration against Gala TV company has been accompanied by the demonstration of protest conducted by the TV company supporters in front of the court building.
According to the head of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech – Ashot Melikyan, it was also as a result of this rally, that the judge Edward Nahapetyan has avoided making a decision in favor of Gyumri municipality, declaring that the trial is being postponed until getting an answer from the Court of Cassation about mediation on conducting the court session in another location.
This demonstration followed the news that was reported yesterday, about the court process initiated by Gyumri administration, trying to deprive the Chap LTD – the founder of Gala Television Company from the possibility to use the old TV tower of Gyumri (which was restored into working condition by Chap LTD and was used for the broadcasting antenna of the TV company).
In response to attempts by various government bodies, including the state tax service and Gyumri administration to deprive Gala TV of air, a civil initiative group, naming themselves the “Headquarters of Defenders of Gala Television Company” was established in Gyumri yesterday, which has vowed to defend Gala TV by all means, so as the story “with A1+ and Noyan Tapan” is not repeated.
While the pressures against Gala are underway, the supporters of the small regional television company have declared, that following today’s demonstration, there will be another gathering in support of Gala TV Company on December 19, at 16:00.
One cannot help wondering – just how far the authorities of Armenia are ready to push this micro-war with this small regional TV company, which is simply attempting to protect its editorial independence.
It seemed, as though a gigantic helicopter is trying to lift our school and take it somewhere. The sounds felt exactly like that, and the jerking and lap-dancing of the walls felt exactly like that. The teacher of Armenian asked us to stay quiet for a moment, then she opened the door of the classroom, looked out at something and told us: take hands children, and follow me. The obedient rows of Soviet-trained children followed the teacher into the corridor, to clash into a running screaming river of children and teachers. By now everybody had understood its an earthquake. “Zhazhq e, pakheq!!!” (“It’s an earthquake, run…”) was heard from everywhere. Cracks appeared on the walls, stones started falling. Someone fell, and the rest of the running crowd, consisting of children of all ages and teachers stampeded them…
…a teacher threw me out of the window of the third floor. The teacher of Physical education caught me safely, put me on the ground and said: “Are you OK?”, and without expecting an answer, turned back to catch another child thrown out of the window. “Where’s my sister?”, I asked to nobody. “Where’s my coat?”, I asked to that nobody again, feeling the shivering cold.
“Are you OK?”, asked the PE teacher to yet another child he caught, and turned to us with tired eyes: “Run home, kids, maybe you’ll find your parents?”
I can’t believe 19 years have passed. It is all still so vivid in my mind. …and so much in Gyumri still reminds of the Quake.
I still hate Soviet constructed buildings and avoid 9+ storied buildings if I can. I found my sister – coming out of the school’s front door in an orderly row, with other first-graders, led by teachers. The little ones weren’t even frightened, the teachers were so well organized. I never found the teacher of the Physical education who saved so many lives that day, catching kids one after another, and another and another… was a regular Gyumri guy, one of many, who only thought about saving lives, turning into regular heroes, who remained nameless and unknown.
With the initiative of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Speech, Journalists representing more then ten national newspapers, as well as Radio Liberty and Hetq Online newspaper visited the Gyumri based GALA TV, which has come under growing political and economic pressures from various State agancies after broadcasting the address of Armenia’s First President Levon Ter-Petrossian at the opposition rally staged on October 26, 2007 on the Freedom Square in front of the Opera House in Yerevan.
Continue reading “Journasts from National Newspapers Visit Gyumri GALA TV in a Rare Act of Solidarity”
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:
- Gagik Ohanyan – head of RA State Tax Service first operative investigative unit
- Hovik Havhannisyan – elder oper-officer
- Harutyun Sukiasyan – chief oper-officer
- Armen Hakobyan – oper-officer of RA State Tax Service, Shirak Regional Unit
- Vardges Stepanyan – elder oper-officer
- 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.