The beating of the acting chief of RFE/RL’s Yerevan bureau, Hrach Melkumian, is a major theme of Wednesday’s Armenian press commentary.
“The authorities have become intolerant,” investigative journalist Edik Baghdasarian tells “Aravot.” “I blame them [for the attack.] If people get beaten up in our streets, whether in broad daylight or at night, it is the authorities that are responsible. They can find perpetrators of violence at any moment but they don’t.”
“Failure to identify and punish journalists’ attackers is tantamount to provoking those attacks,” writes “Hraparak.” “The government and the state are supposed to ensure the security and normal activity of society. A government not performing its functions must be relieved of its duties.”
“No thug infringing on free speech has been arrested and brought to account yet,” writes “Hayk.”
“Azg” also strongly condemns the attack and demands that the authorities at last punish those guilty of violence against journalists.
In an interview with “Aravot,” Mher Sedrakian, the incumbent mayor of Yerevan’s Erebuni district, explains why he has unexpectedly decided not to seek another term in office. Sedrakian says he initially nominated his candidacy in the upcoming local election to discourage others from contesting the vote. “I know that with me in the running, many people would not run, some for fear of being defeated, others out of respect,” he says. “Nobody is out there and our candidate, my deputy [Armen Harutiunian,] will become Erebuni mayor.” Sedrakian also claims that he has grown tired of his job not least because of journalists hostile to him. “They write so many lies that sometimes you start thinking that they might be right,” he says.
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” comments on the government’s controversial plans to have all market traders install cash registers. The opposition paper claims that Sarkisian is simply at odds with market owners. “Serzh Sarkisian is demanding additional money from them and they levy that money from traders,” it says.
“Hraparak” speculates that the authorities want to pump more water from Lake Sevan, which is used by Armenian hydro-electric power plants, because the nuclear power station at Metsamor will not be operational for four months due to capital repairs.