VAT OF INTELLIGENTSIA
Siranuysh Papyan

Story from Lragir.am News:
http://www.lragir.am/engsrc/country26702.html
Published: 11:14:25 - 29/06/2012

Television issues have been mounted to Serzh Sargsyan. A group of NGOs,
intellectuals have sent him a letter complaining of the "aggressive,
criminal, anti-social soap operas and comedy shows and their negative
impact" on the society.

They propose some criteria to be used to attend to this situation. In
particular, they propose amending the Administrative Infringements
Code adding a provision on punishment, as well as to set up a
scientific-research center within the State Committee on Radio and
Television.

For his part, Serzh Sargsyan asked the Public Council to take care of
the issue, as well as to hold discussions with the State Committee on
Radio and Television, NGOs, directors of TV companies and intellectuals
to work out a broadcasting policy.

In an interview with Lragir.am, TV host Petros Ghazaryan noted that
very simple criteria are necessary to resolve the issue: hatred,
crime, pornography must be eliminated, in other words, everything
that violates the moral code. But he thinks it was a wrong step to
appeal to Serzh Sargsyan for this issue, since the president should be
involved only when all the other possible methods have already been
used. According to him, it is very easy to shift the responsibility
on the president.

Besides, Petros Ghazaryan does not believe that the intellectuals
really care for this issue since besides the esthetic issue they
raise, there is another one on freedom of speech, which is a problem
in Armenia. "Have you ever seen intellectuals bring up this issue? Why
aren't they worried about other issues? Can I believe they care for
this issue when the rest of them are much more important, and maybe the
TV issue is the result of existence of others?" Petros Ghazaryan says.

The TV host notes that before and after the parliamentary elections,
there is some progress towards freedom of speech. Nevertheless, there
is no complete freedom in Armenia. With only some freedom of speech,
television fulfills its functions better by providing comprehensive
information to the society.

Whether pluralism on television and freedom of speech will be observed
during the presidential elections, Petros Ghazaryan says it will
depend on domestic situation because the influence of politics on the
media is direct. He is sure that in this case the intellectuals will
express no concern. "So many presidential and parliamentary elections
have already been held, have you even seen any intellectual express
an opinion? They have tolerated a lot of things, they will do it this
time too, this is the value added tax," says Petros Ghazaryan.

According to him, the alternative media have also promoted
liberalization of television since today any website may make news
which the TV cannot. Thank God, we can see that television is already
competitive and during the parliamentary electionsthe only bearer
and spreader of information was television because it was no less
free than the internet, says the TV host.



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress