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Press Review


“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that a senior energy official who faced a corruption inquiry from a parliamentary commission headed by a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) is running for the Armenian parliament on the Dashnaktsutyun ticket. Marat Martirosian, the director of the Hrazdan thermal power station accused by the commission of large scale embezzlement of public funds in the 1990s, has been included on the pro-government party’s electoral slate.

“Aravot” compares this week’s U.S. missile attack on the headquarters of Iraqi television to the way the Armenian authorities have dealt with television channels critical of them. The paper says Armenian laws regulating the work of mass media are “no less effective than bombs in terms of muzzling media outlets the authorities don’t like.” Armenian law on television and radio, for example, “knocked out” the A1+ television channel. The paper believes that the government’s controversial bill on mass media will serve a similar purpose.

In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Hovannes Asrian, chairman of President Kocharian’s commission on human rights, says there was nothing illegal in the post-election mass arrests of opposition supporters. Asrian also attacks the RFE/RL Armenian Service for what he says is an “extremely biased” coverage of the presidential elections. “Radio Liberty is thereby discrediting the American broadcasting board which is supposed to oversee it and the U.S. Congress which funds it,” Asrian claims. He says the U.S. government should be “concerned” about that.

Other newspapers supporting Kocharian also criticize RFE/RL. “Golos Armenii,” citing yet another letter by an elderly “labor veteran,” accuses its Armenian service of having become a mouthpiece of the Armenian opposition. “Golos Armenii” says it is not “logical” for a U.S.-funded broadcaster to inform Armenians of what is going on in their country.

Another argument made by “Golos Armenii” against continued RFE/RL broadcasts in the Armenian language is that “our state is young; there are still many undecided people; there are more than a hundred political parties and thousands of non-governmental organizations who do not yet understand what they want.”

(Vache Sarkisian)
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