From July 1 to 10, 2019, the “Media Advocate” Initiative followed online media reports on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s personality and activities. 5 news agencies were monitored: aravot.am, armlur.am, azatutyun.am, yerkir.am and a1plus.am.
According to the monitoring, 351 articles were published on 5 selected websites regarding Nikol Pashinyan. 39 articles of which are negative, 17 are positive and 295 are neutral.
This time, negative articles exceed the number of positive ones as well. The main reason remains Robert Kocharyan’s arrest and contradiction of Nikol Pashinyan’s previous statements and current actions. During the ten-day monitoring period, the supporters of the second president held an action near the government building and demanded a meeting with Nikol Pashinyan and the fact that he did not approach them has been perceived as a weakness. Zaruhi Postanjyan reminds that the Constitution written during Serzh Sargsyan’s term has been criticized by Nikol Pashinyan, but now it turns to be favorable for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Larisa Alaverdyan, in her turn, criticized Nikol Pashinyan’s famous speech, where the latter refused from the idea of “Izms”. Criticism continues in the context of Nikol Pashinyan’s political team. For example, Hayk Sargsyan is said to share similarities with Arakel Movsisyan.
From 90 articles published in Aravot.am, 13 were negative, 8 were positive and 69 were neutral.
The news agency mostly republished the speeches of politicians addressed to Nikol Pashinyan. The protests of Robert Kocharyan’s supporters were covered by the news outlet. Margarit Yesayan’s assessments and Eduard Sharmazanov’s criticism on the “Istanbul” convention were also targeted against Nikol Pashinyan. It is noteworthy that activist Jivan Abrahamyan criticized the mayor of Ejmiatsin Diana Gasparyan, at the same time he positively addressed Nikol Pashinyan. The website also touched upon Nikol Pashinyan’s outgoing visits by presenting the Prime Minister’s meetings in a positive light.
From 72 articles published in Armlur.am, 3 were negative, 3 were positive and 66 were neutral.
Being Nikol Pashinyan’s teammate, and a member of “My Step” faction, the founder of the above-mentioned news agency reflected the views of the opposition on some issues. David Harutyunyan’s comment according to which Nikol Pashinyan is making mistakes and Vahe Grigoryan’s statements on the Constitutional Court are nonsense, are reflected in the news outlet. In addition, the news agency republished the statement of the “Sasna Tsrer” party, where Pashinyan is also being criticized. Positive articles have been written on Armenia’s economic growth. However, the news agency has just ignored and did not cover some issues and tried to maintain equality.
From 63 articles published in A1plus.am, 4 were negative, 3 were positive and 56 were neutral.
The news agency did not criticize the Prime Minister, but republished criticisms and statements by Davit Harutyunyan, Margarit Yesayan, “Sasna Tsrer” Party and Robert Kocharyan’s supporters. As far as the positive articles are concerned, they are mainly official statements.
From 72 articles published in Yerkir.am, 17 were negative, 1 was positive and 54 were neutral.
Negative articles refer to almost all the issues mentioned above. The website republished the article entitled “Authority with no Values ” by “Irakanum”, in which the newspaper recalled that oppositional Nikol Pashinyan conviction according to which being present at the parliament during the question-and-answer session is the prime minister’s “constitutional duty” but after being elected as a PM, Pashinyan did not attend such a question and answer session. The site blames Pashinyan for barricading the country. The only positive article refers to the fact that the “My Step” has collected high percentages during the elections in the municipality due to Nikol Pashinyan, as his rating was high.
From 54 articles published in Azatutyun.am, 2 were negative, 2 were positive, 50 were neutral.
News agency keeps neutrality at the level of textual publications. Both sources of criticism are not their own content. One refers to Hayk, a soldier having a military disability, who claims he has met with Nikol Pashinyan for his treatment and has remained unanswered and the other negative article refers to the issue of the “Little Singers” building, which is still under a question.
In fact, the news agencies try to balance their news coverage at the textual level, which can’t be said about video content. All this is periodically noticed and considered by “Media Advocate” initiative. The diversity of negative articles proves the fact that Pashinyan’s PR team is unable to find any counteraction yet and does not know how to fight when the public and the media are comparing Nikol Pashinyan’s previous statements and current actions that are simply in contradiction.