Sunday, 9 March 2008

‘Alternative’ message from Armenian Church calling for a dialogue and criticising media blackout and state propaganda in Armenia

The following message I received today from a reader of this blog informing that "a priest spoke on radio VEM today":

"I'm not a believer, but this man almost gave me back my faith.
He said Armenians know the truth.
He said there are too many sources of information for this government to control everything.
He said people should stop lying.
He said he saw with his own eyes what happened on Saturday (if I understood that well)."

I had a look at Radio VEM website (Christian radio station in Armenia established with the help of Diasporan Armenians) and found that broadcast. It is called “Responsibility” and features conversation (kind of heart-to-heart talk) with Armenian priest.

He put responsibility for current situation in Armenia and political crisis on both government and opposition, urging for tolerance and dialogue. He also strongly criticised media blackout imposed by Armenian authorities. He made parallels between current and Soviet Armenia where the only source of independent news for people was Radio Liberty (even Radio Liberty has been restricted in Armenia now, and people find alternative online ways to access it). Armenian priest expressed his astonishment by the fact that – due to Internet censorship of many independent and pro-opposition sites - currently some Armenians go to Azeri web sites in order to get information on situation in Armenia (!). He also criticised one-sided coverage of state controlled TV stations before and after 1 March. In fact, he said that state propaganda is partly responsible for such a scale of popular support for Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

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