“My understanding is that these authorities do not accept criticism at all and take it painfully,” Tigran Karapetian, the owner of the ALM television station, tells “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “I consider that wrong and I am going to fight against that and appeal to the people with this message: ‘Let’s pray because if they are not afraid of anyone, they will definitely be afraid of God because they have kids, grandchildren.” Karapetian is worried that the authorities could pull the plug on his channel.
“I won’t name names but will say that I was offered $4 million [for ALM] but I refused,” says Karapetian. “Now they want to take it away for free. But I will fight as much as I can. I think that will be in my favor in any case because I will become a national hero. The people won’t understand why Karapetian and ALM are not around.”
“Hayk” speculates that President Serzh Sarkisian may be behind a government bill allowing the existence of secondary and high schools where the main language of instruction is not Armenian. “And this fact is also unfortunate because this initiative directed against Armenia’s state interests and the Armenian nation comes from the person who holds the most important position,” says the opposition daily. The paper is disappointed that Armenians are debating the wisdom of the bill instead of condemning it unanimously. It describes as “terrible” opinion polls showing that 38 percent of them support the proposed measure.
Writing in “Hayots Ashkhar,” National Accord Party leader Artashes Geghamian defends the bill. He regrets the fact that among its opponents are “individuals appreciated and accepted by our people.”
“Hraparak” condemns the newly passed legal amendments that decriminalize libel but introduce heftier fines for such offenses. The paper claims that they will be used for “muzzling” newspapers critical of the authorities. “In effect, our discontent on this matter, which we have expressed for months, has been ignored,” it says. “A mentality of unfree speech and manageable journalism has prevailed.”
Political expert Manvel Sargsian is asked by “Zhamanak” to explain why Russia has seemingly agreed to greater Turkish presence in the region. “Russia feels so powerful that it has no concerns about a rise in Turkey’s role,” he says.