Մատչելիության հղումներ

Watchdog Sees Improved Election Coverage In Armenia


Armenia -- Broadcast media microphones

A leading Armenian media watchdog gave on Friday a largely positive assessment of television coverage of the ongoing mayoral election campaign in Yerevan.

The independent Yerevan Press Club (YPC) said Armenia’s seven leading TV stations are now more neutral and objective than they were in the run-up to the last national elections. The YPC began a daily monitoring of their political news reporting on April 16, two before the official start of campaigning for the May 31 elections of a new municipal council.

“I am pleased to say that 97 percent of the TV coverage has been neutral,” said Elina Poghosbekian, the monitoring coordinator. “In my opinion, that is a very good indicator. Unlike the last presidential and parliamentary elections, these elections are being covered in a relatively neutral way.”

Both the YPC and Western observers were highly critical of the Armenian broadcasters’ coverage of the national elections, notably the February 2008 presidential ballot. They said it favored pro-government candidates and was biased against the opposition.

Presenting its latest monitoring results, the YPC said at the same time that the main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) has so far received much less TV coverage than virtually all other election contenders. The largest amount of airtime was found to have been given to the small People’s Party (ZhK), whose owner, Tigran Karapetian, controls one of the seven TV channels in question.

The ZhK was followed by the pro-government Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), which pulled out of the country’s governing coalition late last month. Dashnaktsutyun controls another channel monitored by the YPC.

Surprisingly, President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), the election favorite, has so far been only the fifth most covered contender so far, according to the YPC. The HHK is also trailing the BHK, its most important coalition partner, in terms of spending on televised campaign ads.
XS
SM
MD
LG