“Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs” (AIISA) is going to organize a discussion entitled “20 years after October 27։ retrospective look, lessons and thoughts”.
AIISA founder Styopa Safaryan announced about it on his Facebook account: “Access for news.am, hayeli.am, 168.am, Yerevan.today, 7or.am, livenews.am media agencies and 5th Channel and Yerkir Media TV channels and other campaign machines is closed. The journalists and cameras of these campaign machines will be withdrawn from the hall.”
“Media Advocate” considers this statement unacceptable. This is a gross violation of freedom of speech. This is how the press is again divided into blacks and whites. It is known that the main purpose of public discussions is to have all media outlets present, so as they have an opportunity to cover the event.
Being a representative of the expert community, Styopa Safaryan, is very well aware of the principles of freedom of speech and he realizes that he clearly violates those principles.
“Media Advocate” initiative urges the AIISA to refrain from voicing such positions, not to promote restriction of freedom of speech and not to divide journalists to insiders and outsiders, to “ours” and “theirs”. Labeling media outlets and attempting to launch public reproach against them is unacceptable.
A comprehensive discussion format should be acceptable to the AIISA, as well as to other non-governmental organizations working in the field. Restricting access to of those having an opposite standpoint totally excludes the opportunity of holding a discussion of a public character. Thus, the AIISA creates a situation where only bilateral opinions and propaganda will be presented which will force the media to disseminate it and, in fact, unwittingly become a propaganda machine.
The opinions of Armen Vardanyan, Gevorg Melikyan, Ruben Mehrabyan, Hovsep Khurshudyan and other experts of AIISA on this issue is of a great importance as well.