Thursday, June 28, 2007


27 Jun 07

Yerevan, 27 June: Representatives of a number of opposition parties have harshly criticized the possible termination of rebroadcasts of the Armenian Service of Radio Liberty on Armenian Public Radio.

"The Armenian government is taking another anti-democratic step, which is prompted, and it is not difficult to suppose, by the upcoming presidential election in the country. They probably want to eliminate the free zone which is not controlled by them and which is used by opposition politicians to freely express their positions," the secretary of the parliamentary faction of the [opposition] Heritage Party, Stepan Safaryan, said.

The opposition parties not represented in parliament also tend to view a bill submitted by the government to parliament "on changes to the law of the Republic of Armenia 'on TV and radio'" as the desire of the authorities to deprive the Armenian Service of Radio Liberty of its airtime for political reasons.

"The case should not be viewed as a legal or judicial matter. This is a political step ahead of the presidential election in February next year. The bill proposed by the government is aimed at depriving the people of the opportunity to receive objective information through the only electronic medium not controlled by the authorities," the secretary of the People's Party of Armenia, Grigor Harutyunyan,
stressed, expressing the official position of the party.

Representative of the Armenian Pan-National Movement Aram Manukyan believes that the authorities have never liked the media that show their weak points in governing the republic, and the forthcoming presidential election only served as a reason to embark on new and specific steps to suppress freedom of speech. "Radio Liberty has not bowed to the authorities, and they want to deprive a wide audience of the opportunity to receive objective information about the events in the republic," Manukyan said.

The head of the Alternative public and political movement and editor-in-chief of Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper, Nikol Pashinyan, was even more categorical. He described the initiative of the government as another step directed at establishing an army of unrestrained dictatorship in Armenia. "When they speak of the necessity not to provide foreign TV and radio stations with local frequencies, they should first vacate the two local VHF frequencies used for broadcasting Russian government TV channels.

The Armenian Service of Radio Liberty, unlike them [the Russian channels], is broadcast in Armenian. Mostly Armenians work there, who report on events in our country," Pashinyan said.

During an emergency session today, the National Assembly will discuss the bill proposed by the government "on changes to the law of the Republic of Armenia 'on TV and radio'". It says the reason is that "the status of the Public TV and Radio Company and its tasks are, in fact, incompatible with the right to give consent to provide frequencies to other broadcasters".

No comments:

Post a Comment