“Aravot” continues to make the point that the A1+ television was denied a new frequency at the behest of President Robert Kocharian. “The rejection of A1+ was inevitable because that was the instruction given by the person who forms the commission [on broadcasting]. Namely, the president of the republic,” the paper says. “Only one thing was unclear until Monday: will Grigor Amalian find a fresh explanation for the rejection? This time he presented such an original ‘justification’ that shocked even his bosses who have borrowed a lot from cynical demagogy.” Amalian’s commission, the paper says, has once again showed that “in this republic everything depends only on the opinion of one person.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also believes that Amalian’s justification was “ludicrous.” But, the paper says, Amalian needn’t “panic” because as long as Robert Kocharian remains in power he can keep A1+ off the air without any justification. “A1+ will return to air only in case of a change in Armenia’s domestic political situation,” human rights activist Vartan Harutiunian agrees.
Boris Navasardian, chairman of the Yerevan Press Club, tells the A1+ daily “Ayb-Fe” that he only cared about one thing before Monday’s frequency bidding: whether or not Amalian and eight other members of his commission have “a sense of shame.” “Their decision convinced me that those individuals who have once again deprived A1+ of a chance to return to air have no sense of shame,” Navasardian says. “That raises serious doubts about the moral health of our entire society which tolerates all of that.”
“A tender with a predetermined outcome,” reads a headline in “Azg” which says the commission’s impartiality is “highly doubtful.” At least with regard to the Armnews channel. The paper also says it is not fair to give businessman Bagrat Sargsian (who is sponsored by U.S.-Armenian millionaire Gerard Cafesjian and controls half of Armnews) control over four broadcasting frequencies and deny A1+ a single one by “yet again neglecting public opinion and disgracing us in the eyes of foreigners.”
“Iravunk” comments that the authorities fear that Friday’s opposition rally in Yerevan will be attended by many people and will strengthen the Artarutyun bloc’s hand in its campaign for a referendum of confidence in Kocharian. The paper also sees some overtures to the opposition made by Ara Abrahamian, the Kremlin-backed Russian-Armenian tycoon.
“Hayots Ashkhar” carries in this regard an interview with Garnik Isagulian, the leader of the obscure National Security Party which is reputedly backed by Armenian security agencies. Isagulian, who has admitted collaborating with Armenia’s ex-KGB in the past, accuses Abrahamian of attempting to weaken the Kocharian administration with the creation of his World Armenian Organization. Isagulian says the decision to hold its founding congress in Moscow was “strange” especially given “our people’s nostalgic feelings towards Russia.”