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Press Review


"Haykakan Zhamanak" reports on Thursday's unprecedented brawl between senior officials from the prosecutor-general's office and the interior ministry. The paper says Deputy Interior Minister Hovannes Varian and senior prosecutor Arsen Beginian were "the main heroes" of the extremely violent fistfight. The paper says it doesn't matter who was at fault for starting the fight. The main thing, according to "Haykakan Zhamanak," is that if the top law-enforcement officials are so brutal towards each other then nobody should expect them to respect the due process of law and the dignity of ordinary citizens. "If the police officers can beat the hell out of an investigating prosecutor, imagine what they could do to an ordinary citizen."

"That the investigator who is supposed to protect the law swore at and hit the deputy minister is a fact," writes "Yerkir." And there is no reason to believe that the former would not behave in a similar manner when questioning criminal suspects or witnesses.

"Hayots Ashkhar" seems to be more sympathetic to the prosecutor. The paper says Varian should have resorted only to "legal actions" in response to Beginian's improper behavior. He also should have deterred his police officers from attacking the prosecutor. "And if, for example, there was an ordinary citizen instead of the prosecutor, would they beat him to death?"

"Where is our pluralism?" asks "Haykakan Zhamanak" and draws the grim conclusion that the number of TV programs in Armenia discussing political affairs has fallen drastically in the last two years. Talk shows and analytical programs that prompted public debate on a wide range of issues have all but disappeared from the Armenian TV screen since the closure of the A1+ television. Even private television channels that were always reluctant to invite opposition politicians have cut back on their political programming.

"Iravunk" says the Armenian media are increasingly splitting into two mutually hostile camps. One of them supports Robert Kocharian and his regime, while the other is strongly critical of them.

"Yerkir" discusses activities of former president Levon Ter-Petrosian's allies grouped around the HHSh, the former ruling party. The paper says the HHSh wants to revive Ter-Petrosian's discourse on Nagorno-Karabakh. This is primarily designed for the outside world. "With this the HHSh is trying to show that in the event of coming to power it will be ready to put Armenia's stance on the external front in general and on the Artsakh issue in particular on the path of concessions."

"Hayots Ashkhar" alleges that Ter-Petrosian is pulling the strings in the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission and accuses the ex-president of "casting doubt on the fact of the Armenian Genocide."

(Vache Sarkisian)
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