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Press Review


"Azg" and “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” are the only newspapers mentioning the 14th anniversary of the popular movement for Nagorno-Karabakh's reunification with Armenia. "Hayastani Hanrapetutyun" believes that February 20, 1988 marked the beginning of a new era in Armenian history. The government-controlled daily sees positive political and economic changes taking place in Nagorno-Karabakh under the leadership of Arkady Ghukasian.

Hmayak Hovannisian, leader of the Agro-Industrial group in the Armenian parliament, makes his case, in a "Hayots Ashkhar" interview, for the passage of a law that would set punishment for those who deny the Armenian genocide. "If we are to expect foreign diplomats to refrain from denying or casting doubt on this fact we must first of all substantiate it with our own legislation," Hovannisian says.

Opposition leader Ashot Manucharian discusses the continuing fallout from the 1999 parliament shootings, in an interview with "Haykakan Zhamanak." Manucharian says the country's leading political groups should formulate a common stance on what he describes as "a crime against the statehood." Its perpetrators should be declared "traitors," he says.

"Haykakan Zhamanak" reports that Communist leader Vladimir Darpinian continues to deny fraud allegations made by some senior members of his party. Darpinian claims that the revolt against him was instigated by the authorities. He accuses them of plotting to split and weaken the Communist Party.

"Azg" attacks Justice Minister David Harutiunian for his defense of a controversial government bill on mass media. The paper emphasizes the fact that the bill has been criticized and rejected by virtually all Armenian media organizations. Harutiunian, it says, prefers to ignore this broad consensus.

Harutiunian's main argument is that the authorities can not abolish the criminal code just because criminals don't like it, according to "Aravot." "The thing is that the authorities regard the declared freedom of speech as a phenomenon punishable by criminal law." For them every journalist is a "potential criminal." "If we follow the minister's logic a referendum should also be seen as a fruitless undertaking," the paper says.

(Vache Sarkisian)
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