“Aravot” says Wednesday’s parliament vote on the government’s media bill demonstrated that many of the newly elected deputies have scores to settle with the press and are “in no way interested in even some degree of media freedom.” The paper names some of those deputies. All of them are members of parliament’s pro-presidential majority. Some have notorious nicknames that have been widely publicized by independent newspapers. For example, one of them, Orinats Yerkir’s Grigor Markarian, was infuriated by press reports about his vote buying in the May parliamentary elections. Another deputy, Henrik Abrahamian distinguished himself in the previous National Assembly by routinely voting in his colleagues’ place. Journalists did not fail to take note of that. Vram Gyulzadian, also from Orinats Yerkir, earned notoriety for allegedly handing out rotten potato seeds to rural voters.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” looks at why Orinats Yerkir leader Artur Baghdasarian voted against the same media bill last April, but changed his mind this time. “After becoming chairman of the National Assembly Baghdasarian developed serious ‘business plans’,” the paper says. “This is evidenced by a newly opened electronics store on Mashtots Avenue [in central Yerevan]. It belongs to his family and its space was purchased for $600,000. So when the bill on mass media finally becomes a law and Artur Baghdasarian opens a new shop or restaurant, he will be able to say that we have no right to run photographs of that shop or restaurant in our newspaper.”
A prominent Armenian intellectual, Henrik Hovannisian, laments a “loss of decent people” in Armenia, speaking to “Hayots Ashkhar.” “For our generation [living in] Yerevan made a sense because it had valuable people that gave the people the right to live,” he says. “I don’t see such people now.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” discusses the latest scandal over Deputy Culture Minister Karen Aristakesian’s allegedly controversial remarks made in Turkey last week. The paper says this is not the first time that Turkish media distort statements by Armenian government officials. It says that is part of Ankara’s “information war” against Armenia which has so far failed to come up with an adequate response.
“Ayb-Fe” says the fact that Armenians have not reacted angrily to recent and planned consumer price increases suggests that they are now in a state of “shock.” The opposition, it says, is wrong to believe that it can galvanize the public with a campaign for a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian.