by Anna Israyelyan

Aug 22 2009

The new procedure for the accreditation of journalists in the Armenian
parliament signed by Parliament Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan on 21 August
sets restrictions on mass media.

Israyelyan quotes the new procedure as saying that only "newspapers
with the circulation of 1,500 copies and more; magazines with the
circulation of 1,000 copies and more, and websites, which have 800
and more visitors per day, are updated once a week, and are registered
at the Armenian Justice Ministry can be accredited".

The author of the report describes the restrictions as "senseless"
for the print media in Armenia, as most newspapers exaggerate
circulation numbers.

Israyelyan notes that the new procedure also bans the accreditation
of media outlets, which do not have correspondent offices in Yerevan,
which means that the regional media will be unable to get access
to the parliament, even when issues pertaining to the regions are
discussed there.

The author of the report believes that "the most dangerous provision"
of the new procedure is that a journalist's accreditation may be
suspended, if his/her reports on parliament "do not correspond to
reality". Moreover, the media outlet, whose journalist gets his/her
accreditation suspended in this way, will lose the right to send
another journalist to the parliament.

Israyelyan writes that this provision, along with the one that obliges
journalists to respect "lawful interests, honor, and dignity of Mps",
implies that if journalists want to keep their accreditation valid,
they need to write "only good things" about parliament.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress