On September 4 during the RA President’s visit to Gyumri, the representatives of the Office of the head of the state restricted the local journalists from participating in the brief, held at the Gyumri Mother and Child Care Hospital.
The clarifications on the incident provided by the Department of Public Relations and Mass Media of RA President’s Office were not convincing. One can imply from them that the administration of the President sorts out a certain class of media outlets, where the coverage of activities of the head of the state is preferred more than it is on other outlets. This was most vividly demonstrated in Gyumri, where the local media has a quite big audience. Hence, in this case, when visiting the city, the RA President should have been particularly interested in communicating with Gyumri citizens.
In general, an unwritten rule is observed at the governing elite. According to this rule, when dealing with media outlets, preference is first given to foreign media, then – to some “favorite” national and capital based broadcasters, and at the very end – to regional media. This is an extremely vicious phenomenon, especially in those cases, when the information or the message are, in fact, intended for the audience of those media, which fall out of “favorites’ list”. This sort of conduct of the state officials impedes the ensuring of fair competition among media, as well as the right to receive and disseminate information. Hence, we call to revise such an approach.
As regards the incident in Gyumri, we expect the Department of Public Relations and Mass Media of the Office of the RA President to bring apologies to all those accredited journalists, who did not get the chance to carry out their professional commitment towards their audience.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
YEREVAN PRESS CLUB
INTERNEWS MEDIA SUPPORT NGO
“ASPAREZ” JOURNALISTS’ CLUB
MEDIA DIVERSITY INSTITUTE-ARMENIA
“JOURNALISTS FOR THE FUTURE” NGO
September 6, 2012