"The authorities are trying to destroy the last vestige of democracy in Armenia: free speech," writes "Haykakan Zhamanak" in an editorial devoted to World Press Freedom Day. The paper claims that they have unleashed a "cold war" against free media which combines threats and intimidation with economic pressure.
The government-funded daily "Hayastani Hanrapetutyun," however, believes that President Kocharian is "disproportionately tolerant towards freedom of speech," allowing any media outlet to write or broadcast "whatever comes to its mind."
Energy Minister Armen Movsisian, revealing his membership in the governing Republican Party (HHK), tells "Hayots Ashkhar" that the two-year track record of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian has been exceptionally good.
"Or" says the energy sector which Movsisian manages has always been a lucrative place for Armenia's "economic mafia." "The budget of our state has hemorrhaged primarily through the energy veins." The paper wonders what is the rationale for privatizing or leasing the energy distribution networks if Movsisian's claims about the sector's falling financial losses are true.
"Aravot," meanwhile, carries a front-page photograph of Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazarian's expensive villa. The paper says the house was built in 1998-99 when Nazarian worked as deputy energy minister and the director of the Yerevan power grid.