“Lragir.am” talks to senior opposition member David Shahnazarian, who as presidential ambassador-at-large for special assignments in 1992-94 was privy to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement and Armenia-Turkey affairs.
Shahnazarian says he has so far seen no signs in the ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani talks that armed peacekeepers will be deployed in the conflict zone when a peace deal is reached.
“On the contrary, there seems to be an arrangement that unarmed peacekeepers, i.e. international observers, will be deployed. I think it is a very serious concession on the part of Armenia, since the presence of armed international peacekeepers is essential as a military guarantee of Nagorno-Karabakh’s security,” says Shahnazarian. “The Armenian authorities must insist that armed peacekeepers rather than observers be deployed and that only countries that have no direct interest in the region should send contingents.”
“168 Zham” interviews Samvel Nikoyan, the head of the parliamentary ad hoc commission conducting a probe into last year’s post-election unrest.
Regarding the commission’s report that is expected to be published soon, Nikoyan says: “In the report the commission also addresses the introduction of a state of emergency by President Robert Kocharian [following a day of clashes between security forces and opposition supporters on March 1, 2008], as well as the actions of state bodies in that connection. The commission should make it a matter for discussion whether the state of emergency was introduced in due time or was delayed. I have my own opinion on this. I think the state of emergency should have been introduced earlier and perhaps that would have prevented such grave consequences.”
Discussing the new order of work for media at the National Assembly, the Russian-language “Golos Armenii” newspaper estimates that it will provide Armenian parliamentarians with at least a fortnight’s ‘respite’ from ‘annoying’ media every month.
“Is it good or bad?” the paper queries. “Of course, it is good for the parliamentarians. But isn’t it very dangerous for the public to leave our parliamentarians without media control for two weeks every month?”
“Aravot” editorializes on state and media relations.
Its editor writes: “When about four years ago a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, the whole Islamic world was demanding that the Kingdom of Denmark offer an apology. A similar incident on a smaller scale happened not long ago. A Swedish newspaper alleged that Israeli military kidnap and kill Palestinians for human organ transplant. In response, the Israeli foreign ministry demanded that the Kingdom of Sweden condemn the newspaper story. In both cases, the states tried to convince the protesters that they bear no responsibility for the publications of privately run newspapers. It is excluded that in Denmark or Sweden journalists receive state awards for their professional activities. It is impossible that a ‘Meritorious Journalist’ title should exist in such democracies. It shouldn’t be the state that decides whether I write something good or bad. But if I insult or slander someone, the state should not offer an apology on my behalf.”
“Azg” writes in its editorial: “In the present conditions of Armenia, the political polarization of society on the one hand and dependence of mass media on political and economic circles on the other hand create such a hostile environment that every initiative made in good faith to make something good for the public is stifled in embryo.”