Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Independent and pro-opposition media representatives in Armenia protest censorship


On March 2, following the day of announcing a state of emergency in Yerevan, the employees of National Security Service (NSS) visited editorial offices of newspapers and presented a short letter, without a signature and a seal, warning that the activities of newspapers would be suspended if the newspaper publications contained information that was different from the official information. On the same night, the materials of newspapers taken to the printing house were checked in detail by NSS employees, and there was a verbal instruction to prohibit the printing.

Taking into consideration that the information called official is at least one-sided and does not reflect the whole picture, being continuously broadcast by about a dozen TV channels, certain newspapers simply decided not to get published, and the others turned up in a forced idle time.

This becomes a basis for us to announce that the RA authorities have just prohibited the activities of the media that are undesirable for them, especially when the demand to publish exclusively official information has not in the least concerned “their own” media that are being published in the conditions of state of emergency.

To make the information terror complete, Internet web sites have also been blocked. Moreover, advertising is being broadcast instead of the CNN and Euronews newscasts covering the events in Armenia. The broadcasting of Liberty radio station was totally suspended.

We announce that all these things not only do not contribute to toning down the tension existing in the public but also deepen the atmosphere of hatred and hostility. The overwhelming majority of the media spreading information that is called official and, especially, the press speakers with their aggression just contribute to igniting unhealthy moods and deepening the mistrust in the government.

In the created situation, our constitutional right to spread and receive information has been violated; the universally-acknowledged principles of freedom of speech and the press freedom have been infringed; the media sustain material losses; censorship is being implemented in Armenia, and our country has turned up in a complete informational blockade.

A1+ chairman
Aravot daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Yerevan Press Club president
Zhamanak Yerevan daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Internews managing director
Haykakan Zhamanak daily newspaper deputy editor-in-chief
Hayk daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Lragir web site editor-in-chief
168 Zham newspaper editor-in-chief
Hetk online newspaper editor-in-chief
Hraparak daily newspaper editor-in-chief
Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper editor-in-chief
Taregir newspaper editor-in-chief
ArmeniaNow online magazine editor

*via The Armenian Observer Blog

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