(Saturday, June 30)
“Hayk” runs a scathing editorial on the controversy surrounding the future of RFE/RL broadcasts in Armenia. “A number of fools who have found themselves in the ruling elite are nearly trying to convince the Armenian people that rivers flow from seas to mountains, that of all household goods the best one is a TV set, that the bird with tastiest meat is an airplane and so on,” writes the paper. “From their perspective, Armenia has become a country where they kill people and thrown them out of the window and then say that they committed a suicide. Where they shut down a TV company and declare that it was not shut down.”
According to “Aravot,” TV reports singing the government’s praises are of little use and value. “Praise of transparent elections and double-digit growth will have a value only if it is voiced on the news programs of, say, by A1+ or Radio Liberty that would also feature opinions that the elections were not quite transparent and economic growth not that impressive,” editorializes the paper.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” dismisses as “absurd” Western criticism of the Armenian authorities’ plans, saying that the West itself made possible a ban on RFE/RL broadcasts by effectively legitimizing the official results of the May 12 parliamentary elections. “As the people say, let them cut their tongues and put them under themselves,” the paper writes angrily. “Fighting for Radio Liberty to stay on air is the matter of ourselves, citizens of Armenia. And although Liberty is funded by the U.S. Congress, the Americans and the Europeans should not be allowed to even get close to that fight. The events of recent months have demonstrated that their desires to establish democracy in Armenia were merely a smokescreen for solving regional or global issues. And the fight for freedom of speech is not the kind of process during which one can pin hopes on those who have fled the battlefield.”
“Slaves are against liberty,” reads a front-page headline in “168 Zham” placed above a photograph of pro-government members of Armenia’s parliament. “One should not doubt that those deputies who came to parliament solely for pressing buttons will adopt those draft laws,” comments the paper. Because all those people, who don’t need freedom, don’t need free speech and, therefore, Radio Liberty either. Because what those pressing buttons need is for the regime thinking in their place to survive as long as possible.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” sees ulterior motives behind plans by several opposition parties to hold a rally on Friday in support of RFE/RL. “One must not doubt that Friday’s rally will be much better attended,” says the paper. “But one must not be happy with that because that will mean only one thing: the people are prepared not to fight for freedom but to hear about how those who promised them cheap sausage and high pensions are fighting for freedom.”