ARKA News Agency
May 3 2004


Partnership for Open Society initiative speaks in Yerevan on the
occasion of the international Day of Freedom of Word

RA President and Chairman of Parliamentary Commission on Science and
Education announced `Enemies of Press'

Situation with free press in Armenia worsens

Public television of Armenia remains appendage and mouthpiece of
executive power

RA Ambassadors abroad must activate work in economic direction -
Vardan Oskanian

Armenia has no problems with freedom of speech - the Leader of
Ramkavar-Azatakan Party

A rally to support 1+ TV Company held in Yerevan

The Mayor's Office of Yerevan is to turn down the application of
Justice opposition bloc to hold a rally tomorrow

The Chairman of CBA congratulates ARKA News Agency on the 8th
anniversary since the agency's functioning

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PARTNERSHIP FOR OPEN SOCIETY INITIATIVE SPEAKS IN YEREVAN ON THE
OCCASION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FREEDOM OF WORD

YEREVAN, May, 4. /ARKA/. Partnership for Open Society initiative
spoke in Yerevan on the occasion of the international Day of Freedom
of Word. `Analyzing the present situation in journalism, we fixed
that the laws on freedom of information and mass media adopted by the
RA NA in 2003 mainly correspond to international standards'. However,
according to the statement of the members of the organization, some
laws, namely that of TV and Radio broadcast are only on the surface
and in fact do not function and are criticized by journalists and
international organizations. According to Partnership for Open
Society initiative, the amendments to the law haven't solved the main
problem - that of the National Committee on TV and Radio broadcast
(NCTVRB), and the Council of the Public TV Company. `The fact that
the implementation of the law on freedom of word is postponed because
the Government so far hasn't met its requirements, hasn't clarified
and approved the order of providing information on the part of state
and local structures self -governance as well as on the part of state
institutes and organizations is upsetting. And, by approving quite
progressive laws in the area of mass media, the Government to make
amendment to other laws bringing them in line with international
standards and newly adopted laws', according to the statement.
According to the statement, the matter is in the new Criminal Code
adopted in 2003. The code contains articles regarding calumny and
offences (points 135, 136, 318), which threaten the freedom of word
and can put the press under censorship.
`We again apply to the Armenian law-enforcing structures to find and
punish according to the law the people who attacked the journalists
covering the rallies of the opposition in Yerevan on the night of
April 13. We demand that representatives of mass media be able to do
their duties freely. Also, we demand withdrawal of the points 135,
136 and 318 from the criminal Code, as threaten the freedom of word
and can put the press under censorship', according to the statement.
The members of the organization expressed their readiness to continue
the struggle for improvement of the legislation regarding mass media,
for development of real freedom of word and really independent press
in the country. A.H. --0--

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RA PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN OF PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION ON SCIENCE AND
EDUCATION ANNOUNCED `ENEMIES OF PRESS'

YEREVAN, May 3. /ARKA/. The National Press-Club of Armenia (NPA)
announced the results of the annual voting of the NPA members,
according to which RA President Robert Kocharian and the Chairman of
the Parliamentary Commission on Science and Education Hranush
Hakobyan became `Enemies of Press'. As stated by Narine Dilbaryan,
Member to NPA, Kocharian is awarded this title for the third time and
this time for approving of the law on mass information, restricting
the rights of the journalists and violating the freedom of speech. As
a result of the voting Hranush Hakobyan also collected the same
number of points for lobbying the law and misinforming the MPs around
positive assessment of the law from the international structures.
According to Dilbaryan, the title `Friend of Press' again remained
without addressee, although Victor Dallakyan, one of the leaders of
Justice opposition bloc was candidate for this award. She also
informed that Deputy Head of RA Police Ashot Varyan (for personal
support of violence against the journalists) on 13 April in Yerevan),
RA Deputy Justice Minster Ashot Abovyan (author of law on mass
information), Chairman of Yerevan Press-Club Boris Navasardyan (for
active support of adoption of the aforementioned law), Speaker Arthur
Baghdasaryan (for not securing of full discussion of the law), head
of Police Hayk Harutyunyan (officially responsible for the violence
against the journalists on April 13), RA Prosecutor General Aghvan
Hovsepyan (for indifference to organizers and executors of the
violence against the journalists), the Chairman of Council of TV and
radio Alexan Harutyunyan (for using of Public TV of Armenia against
the public interests) also were among the candidates for Enemies of
Press award.
This title is awarded for the third time. T.M. -0--

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SITUATION WITH FREE PRESS IN ARMENIA WORSENS

YEREVAN, May 3. /ARKA/. The situation with free press in Armenia
worsens, as Narine Lazarian, Chairman of National Press Club of
Armenia said on her briefing. In her words, since the parliamentary
elections of 2003 the journalists' rights were violated regularly. As
she mentioned in 2003 the RA Parliament adopted the law on mass
information with violations which was opposed by majority of the
Armenian mass media. `As a result, no improvement in professional
level of journalists who were busy with protection of their right,
were recorded'.
She also informed that soon there will be ready a report on the
current situation with the Armenian press.
According to Freedom House international organization promoting human
rights, Armenia is listed among the countries with not free press.
T.M. -0--

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PUBLIC TELEVISION OF ARMENIA REMAINS APPENDAGE AND MOUTHPIECE OF
EXECUTIVE POWER

YEREVAN, May 3. /ARKA/. The Public TV of Armenia keeps remaining an
appendage and mouthpiece of the executive power, as mentioned in the
statement of Partnership for Open Society NGO on occasion of Press
Freedom Day. As the authors of the statement consider the Public TV
of Armenia follows a policy of support and praising of the current
authorities and slandering the opposition which depraves its
information of impartiality and objectivity and does not secure
pluralism of the opinions. At eth same time, as it is mentioned in
the paper, although the Armenian press mainly delivers their function
related to spreading of various information, however the circulations
of the local newspapers remain small. Besides the newspapers are
mainly sold in Yerevan and regional centers. `The Armenian press
remains polarized and involved in the propaganda struggle between the
authorities and the opposition', the statement mentions. T.M. -0--

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RA AMBASSADORS ABROAD MUST ACTIVATE WORK IN ECONOMIC DIRECTION -
VARDAN OSKANIAN

YEREVAN, May, 3. /ARKA/. RA Ambassadors abroad must activate work in
economic direction, RA Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian stated today.
He said that diplomatic missions must contribute to export of
Armenian goods and attraction of foreign investments. According to
him, priority directions in activity of diplomatic service of Armenia
are security problems, development, European integration, Karabakh
settlement and protection of historic rights and values. `The last
one includes international recognition of Armenian Genocide in
Ottoman Empire', Oskanian said. He said that on May 3 Armenian lobby
organizations in different countries will hold a meeting to discuss
these urgent issues.
Armenia has embassies in 30 countries, regular representations in 9
international organizations. L.D. --0--

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ARMENIA HAS NO PROBLEMS WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH - THE LEADER OF
RAMKAVAR-AZATAKAN PARTY

YEREVAN, May, 3. /ARKA/. Armenia has no problems with freedom of
speech, the Leader of Ramkavar-Azatakan Party Harutyun Arakelian
stated today. He said that Armenia has systematic beating of
journalists at the meetings, however press in the country is
developed enough that it does not become an obstacle for its future
activity. According to him, another fact testifying presence of
freedom of speech in Armenia is awarding of title Enemy of Press.
National Press Club conducts awarding of the title Enemy of Press and
Friend of Press. In 2002 and 2003 title Enemy of Press was awarded to
RA President Robert Kocharian. L.D. --0--

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A RALLY TO SUPPORT А1+ TV COMPANY HELD IN YEREVAN

YEREVAN, May, 4. /ARKA/. A rally to support А1+ TV Company was
held in Yerevan. The rally was organized by the Fund for Freedom of
Word and the initiative group for protecting the TV Company. The
participants of the rally required that conditions be created for the
work of the TV Company and expressed their firm belief in success.
According to Nikol Pashinyan, the Chief Editor of Haikakan Zhamanak
opposition newspaper, all the state authority structures of the
country are to protect the freedom of word, which is de jure
stipulated by the Armenian legislation. `As of today, 90% of mass
media in Armenia are under censorship, journalists are attacked, but
no legal proceedings in instituted about all this. Mass Media
shouldn't accept the present situation', said he.
At the same time, the member of the National Press Club Vardan
Vardanyan confirmed that the Fund for Freedom of Word is ready to
render its further support to А1+.
The RA National Committee on TV and Radio Broadcast during its
session on April 2, 2002 acknowledged Sharm Company as the winner in
the contest for the right to broadcast by the 37th decimetric
channel. As a result of it, А1+ opposition TV Company, which
had broadcast for 5 years by that channel, was deprived of the right
to broadcast. This fact displeased the opposition. The TV Company
participated in 8 contests for providing TV frequency for the last 2
years and appealed against the decisions of the RA National Committee
on TV and Radio Broadcast in all Court instances. According to the
initiative group for protecting А1+ TV Company, rude violations
of the law took place both during the contests and when making the
decisions by the Court Instances. All this aimed at making obstacles
for the TV Company to broadcast again.
OSCE and the Council of Europe have expressed their anxiety about
this for several times. A.H -0 -

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THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF YEREVAN IS TO TURN DOWN THE APPLICATION OF
JUSTICE OPPOSITION BLOC TO HOLD A RALLY TOMORROW

YEREVAN, May, 4. /ARKA/. The Mayor's Office of Yerevan is going to
turn down the application of Justice opposition bloc to hold a rally
tomorrow, as the Mayor of the city Yervand Zakharyan stated on a
press- conference. As he said, the application was received in the
morning and is under consideration. Zakharyan noted that the Mayor's
Office will continue refusing to sanction the rallies, which can
influence on the social and economic processes in the country.
According to him, such rallies will affect negatively the investment
environment of the country, hence, they will negatively affect the
economy of the country in general. At that, according to Zakharyan ,
recently the Mayor's Office has sanctioned holding some rallies,
mainly devote to May 1, as well as the action to support А1+.
Joint meeting of Justice opposition bloc and National Unity party to
be held tomorrow. A.H. - 0--

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THE CHAIRMAN OF CBA CONGRATULATES ARKA NEWS AGENCY ON THE 8TH
ANNIVERSARY SINCE THE AGENCY'S FUNCTIONING

YEREVAN, May, 4. /ARKA/. Tigran Sargsyan, the Chairman of CBA, sent
Konstantin Petrosov, the Director of ARKA News Agency, a letter of
congratulation on the 8th anniversary since the agency's functioning.
In his letter Sargsyan states that ARKA has developed the taste and
skills of professional financial and economic journalism. According
to Sargsyan, the issues and various analytical materials published by
the agency are timely, objective and reliable, what's the most
important. `Nowadays, when information is one of the guarantor for an
effective professional work, your work requires more responsibility
and gets more claimed', emphasized Sargsyan. He wished the staff of
ARKA to keep to the traditions it has now and be more success, and
the most important- have a good health and be happy.
ARKA News Agency has been functioning since May 1, 1996. It is
specialized in covering financial, economic and political
information. The Information published by ARKA is received and used
by various organizations, including state and commercial structures,
banks and international financial structures, consulting companies,
Embassies, and mass media.
In 2000, the Central Bank of Armenia recognised ARKA the best
economic agency of the republic. In 2002 and 2003 Business Initiative
Directions International Organization awarded ARKA International Star
Award for Quality in the category of Gold. A.H.--0--