"A1 Plus has decided not to defer to Kocharian, and that means not everything has been lost for our country," editorializes "Aravot." The pro-opposition paper also dismisses as hypocritical the offer from state television to re-broadcast A1 Plus news programs. Kocharian, it says, is thus trying to "pose as a benefactor" of the news channel which he himself forced off the air. The paper is also convinced that that legal action taken by the troubled TV station will not be successful.
Commenting on Kocharian's remarks that his political opponents should have raised money to keep A1 Plus on the air, "Aravot" says the Armenian president has only a black-and-white perspective on mass media. Either they are with him or against him.
"Golos Armenii" says the A1 Plus affair has nothing to do with press freedom because the closed channel was "not at all independent." The paper backs the claims of Kocharian's allies that A1 Plus was the mouthpiece of opposition parties grouped around former president Levon Ter-Petrosian.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" says the A1 Plus journalists continue to "work actively" and plan to disseminate news through the Internet and print media. The paper says they feel buoyed by messages of support and solidarity coming from Armenia and abroad.
"Haykakan Zhamanak" also reports in this context that the opposition parties that organized Friday's demonstration in support of A1 Plus discussed on Monday their plan of actions in case Kocharian refuses to meet their demands. The discussions focused on what forms further street protests should take. The parties are expected to make a decision on Wednesday. Former defense minister Vagharshak Harutiunian is quoted as saying that Kocharian could arrest and prosecute organizers of the "illegal demonstration" as he did so in October 2000 following a rally held by Moscow businessman Arkady Vartanian. But Harutiunian says Kocharian is "losing control of the political landscape." "Several months ago there were three of us. Today we number 14. Rest assured that several months later there will be no force left by his side."
"Iravunk" believes that both A1 Plus and those who support it are in a strong position. "No wonder that A1 Plus has publicly abandoned protectors of HHSh origin and that the multi-party organizing committee holding the rallies has found the participation of HHSh leaders unacceptable…That means the government propaganda machine will find it a bit hard to brand the TV company and the opposition forces supporting it as 'revanchists'." The paper also predicts that the authorities will face a wave of mass protests if they fail to "ease pressure on the media."
Politician and analyst Igor Muradian tells "Hayots Ashkhar" that Kocharian has already got bogged down in a fruitless war of words with the opposition and is wasting precious political resources long before the elections. Kocharian is losing sight of "his main political rival: Levon Ter-Petrosian" which could cost him dearly, Muradian says.