From 11 to 20 October, 2019, the “Media Advocate” Initiative followed online media reports on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s personality and activities. 5 news agencies were monitored: armlur.am, yerkir.am, armtimes.com, azatutyun.am and yerevan.today.
According to the monitoring, 359 articles were published on 5 selected websites regarding Nikol Pashinyan. 97 articles of which are negative, 24 are positive and 238 are neutral.
Negative articles on the Prime Minister prevail the positive ones compared to the previous ten-day period.
Nikol Pashinyan is criticized for the process against Hrayr Tovmasyan. According to various public and political figures, it is a political process․ According to one of the publications: “If we were told a year ago that in order to force the resignation of someone, the government would invite the teenage daughters of that person to National Security Service (NSS), we would not believe it, considering that they are slandering our revolutionary authorities and Nikol Pashinyan who is a representative of the people of Armenia.”
Former MP Samvel Farmanyan also referred to Hrayr Tovmasyan’s daughters’ invitation to the National Security Service. “I am following the nightmare of Hrayr’s daughter’s entering the NSS today. That scene reminded me of 2017. Once we had a conversation in one of the rooms of the National Assembly: Hrayr and I were talking about people and politics. That night Hrayr told me something that probably should be told today. Let me tell it for the sake of tomorrow. Hrayr, with the bright eyes of a pleased man who succeeded in something, started to tell me how back in 2011, when he was a Minister of Justice, he learned that Nikol Pashinyan’s middle daughter broke her hand. Pashinyan at that time was serving his sentence in Kosh or Artik penitentiary. He told me that after learning about it, as a Minister of Justice, he applied to one of the few instruments within his jurisdiction so as to allow Nikol Pashinyan to have two or three extraordinary long-term family meetings. He was proud of what he did. Hrayr was right.”
It is noted that representatives of “Sasna Tsrer” party are actively involved in the process against the Constitutional Court. According to media reports, Garegin Chugaszyan has recently been in the government building and event met with Nikol Pashinyan.
After the meeting of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and mothers of soldiers killed in peacetime, Margarita Khachatryan, President of “Zinvori Mayr” (Soldier’s Mother) NGO, noted that as a result of meeting, they received no response, neither positive nor negative.
The news about the opening of the Northern Customs House Department in Gyumri was positively assessed, as well as the fact that Pashinyan put the last piece of the puzzle which proceeds will be donated families in need in Gyumri so as to provide them housing.
From 109 articles published in yerevan.today 69 were negative, 0 was positive and 40 were neutral.
The news outlet has published almost all the critical remarks directed at the authorities or Nikol Pashinyan. Hrayr Tovmasyan’s case is referred. It is noted that Nikol Pashinyan’s government leads to delegitimization of the legal system. Hayk Alumyan noted that these processes are initiated to terrorize the courts. Vitaly Balasanyan’s criticial opinion on Nikol Pashinyan has also been published by the news agency.
From 77 articles published in armtimes.com, 0 was negative, 11 were positive and 66 were neutral.
The news agency covered Nikol Pashinyan’s visit to Gyumri, where Nikol Pashinyan put the last missing piece of the puzzle. The news that the Northern Customs House Department will be opened in Gyumri, has also been published. It is noted that the Prime Minister became a reason of a tourism boom in Gyumri.
From 69 articles published in armlur.am, 4 were negative, 5 were positive and 60 were neutral.
The news agency has published critical remarks by Vitaly Balasanyan addressed to the current authorities. The news outlet published an article on Ryanair’s entry to Armenia. The news agency, in particular, wrote: “After the $ 5 million tax was allocated from the Armenian budget, Ryanair immediately agreed to fly. Tatevik Revazyan just left for Europe and informed about Pashinyan’s decision. That is why I think that Tatevik Revazyan’s merits have nothing to do with the entry of these airlines to Armenia. It was only Nikol Pashinyan’s personal decision, and budget funds.”
The news outlet also published responses in support of Nikol Pashinyan which are addressed to Vitaly Balasanyan. The news that Nikol Pashinyan gave a backtalk to Ilham Aliyev was also welcomed.
From 63 articles published in yerkir.am, 24 were negative, 3 were positive and 36 were neutral.
Critical articles published by the news agency mainly refer to the processes over the Constitutional Court. Both Vitaly Balasanyan’s position, and the opinion that “Sasna Tsrer” representatives are among the pioneers in the fight against the CC, have been published.
From 41 articles published in azatutyun.am, 0 was negative, 5 were positive and 36 were neutral.
The news outlet has reported that the Customs House Department will be opened in Gyumri. According to its publications, Aliyev received a decent response from Prime Minister which hit him hard.
The above-mentioned shows that the news agencies have a clear political agenda. At least 3 of the monitored news agencies lack publications containing opposing opinions, which allows to conclude that they do not carry out a comprehensive media coverage.