Friday, 8 February 2008

‘Levon-traitor’ leaflets in Yerevan amid news on another violence against his supporters

Just received a call from very close person of mine. The way she described the situation in Yerevan sounds very disturbing, indeed. According to her, at least in Yerevan State Pedagogical University - and I assume in others too - there were lots of leaflets everywhere this morning accusing former president and presidential hopeful Levon Ter-Petrosyan in being “traitor” who will “sell our country” and urging people not to attend his tomorrow’s rally in a central Yerevan.

Meanwhile, new reports on violence against Ter-Petrosyan supporters came out this morning suggesting that at least three of his supporters were beaten (one seriously) overnight for distributing leaflets on upcoming rally in one of the Yerevan districts by people allegedly connected with a local campaign manager of prime minister Serj Sargsyan.

These reports came just days after violence erupted against former president rally and amid increasingly biased coverage of these events by Public TV’s main “Haylur” news programme.

*source of photo: A1+


artmika said...

...even Armenian Ombudsman agrees re bias of Public TV in Armenia:

Human Rights Defender of Armenia discontent with the coverage of the pre-election campaign by the Public TV

February 8, 2008
Yerevan /Mediamax/.

Armenian Human Rights Defender Armen Harutiunian sated today that he is discontent with the coverage of the pre-election campaign of the Public TV (PTV).

Mediamax reports that Armen Harutiunian stated that the Public TV does not secure pluralism of opinions and demonstrates certain bias towards certain presidential candidates.

The Ombudsman expressed hope that his statement will influence the further work of the PTV, and the marked phenomena will be corrected in the nearest future.


A1+ have more details:

In reply to A1+'s question whether the Ombudsman can safeguard human rights when they are already violated /TV Companies show biased attitude with regard to information dissemination/, Armen Harutiunian said, “This is really a most important question. As a human rights defender I am discontent with the coverage of the pre-election campaign by Public TV Company H1. I must say that the policy of private TV Companies greatly differs from that of the public one. Public TV Companies should guarantee diversity of opinions all over the world. Very often, H1 flies to extremes. Reporters answer this or that political figure, whereas their main mission is to provide impartial coverage of news. Human rights are violated from this point of view.”

And what about progress?

“They seem to be taking measures to bring coverage to equilibrium. But it is not enough. If we want this country to prosper we must speak frankly. Partiality should be ignored. Presently, we are studying the European Convention on Human Rights which stipulates that people should be given freedom to make a choice. ”

To note, the Ombudsman has already got letter-complaints about election bribes, passport data compilation and other infringements.


Anonymous said...

The beating obviously is deplorable and should be condemned with those responsible prosecuted.

However, I don't quite get your concern about the leaflets. Indeed, Ter-Petrossian's team started that ball rolling first.

Ironically, they accuse Sargsyan of the same thing, but I can't rememebr you expressing any concern about the pathetic campaigns of both candidates.

artmika said...

That I did not specifically write about inflammatory and hateful language of campaign from both sides, does not mean that I condone it, from whatever side it comes.

Unfortunately, direct use of state and administrative resources (including Public TV) against one candidate (forget polls) which is evolving in examples of direct violence towards his campaign, does not allow time to reflect more broadly other issues, but rather reflect ‘breaking news’. And in this case I see that leaflets as a small, but organic part of the same chain of disturbing events.

In choosing which of election related ‘breaking news’ to reflect in this blog, I consider their importance from my subjective point of view; the way they covered in mainstream Armenian media (especially TV: more bias – more coverage here) and the use of state/administrative power/resources. Obviously, my position in supporting Levon’s candidacy as opposition bloc leader (if this coalition happens) have influence, but not decisive.

Anonymous said...

No one says that Serj deserves to be the president but do you people really want to replace him with Levon the Traitor? Can't we come up with an alternative? I think neither one deserves to lead our country. They have done enough damage as is. We need a new leader. Independent from both criminal clans. He should be a true patriot always acting in his peoples interest.

artmika said...

The question is: What is or who is the alternative, taking into account pre and post-election realities in Armenia?

For now, it is not a matter of persons but rather deprived right of Armenians to elect their President via free elections (it can't be ideal, of course, but at least it should have been reasonably fair!). And whether we want it or not, it's Levon who leads the movement against rigged elections. Yes, ideally we need new leader but reality is far from ideal in Armenia...