From 1 to 10 November, 2019, the “Media Advocate” initiative followed online media reports on the Minister Arayik Harutyunyan’s personality and activities. 35 leading Armenian news agencies have been monitored.
In the specified period, 1208 articles were declared, 756 of which were negative, 124 were positive and 328 were neutral.
Minister Arayik Harutyunyan has been in the media spotlight: numerous critical publications were written on the minister. The main issues are related to the upcoming changes in the educational field.
The decision to make the Armenian language and Armenian history subjects non-compulsory in higher educational institutions has caused great dissatisfaction among the public. Students have organized protests and strikes demanding Minister Arayik Harutyunyan’s resignation.
The main political force demanding the minister’s resignation is Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF – Dashnaktsutyun), whose youth union members organized a sit-in near the ministry building. Arayik Harutyunyan, in his turn, tried to separate the Dashnaktsutyuns living abroad, and the ones living in Armenia, which was followed by the statements of the ARF youth unions based in different countries: according to them, there is no external and internal Dashnaktsutyun. Dashnaktsutyun, which operates in the Diaspora, also demanded Arayik Harutyunyan’s resignation.
Priests of the Armenian Apostolic Church also oppose Arayik Harutyunyan’s decisions. After the expected changes, the History of the Armenian Church will also be excluded from the school curriculum. One of the news outlets notes: “Ter Marcos considers Taguhi Ghazaryan’s statements on the History of the Armenian Church as a help to the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Arayik Harutyunyan. “This is another case of “My step”’s support to Arayik Harutyunyan and we will yet see many helping hands that will make shocking statements. I myself think this MP’s way of thinking is artificial.”
Another wave of criticism rose after it was revealed that the the Ministry had allocated 20,000,000 drams for shooting a film about transgender Mel Daluzyan. ARF member Armen Gevorgyan wrote on his Facebook page: “The activities of the Arayikharutiunians are not covered neither by Home Blessings, nor by the collected votes, they will not be covered by the use of force either. What is happening now to national values was neither written in the five-year program of government, nor in the pre-election program of the authorities, and even no one has spoken about it in the pre-election period. They used to say different things and now simply opposite is being done. Many realize that they would not save Arayik Harutyunyan even for a day, if they were not afraid of the snowball effect. Best of all, the effect was felt by the authorities, despite they called it a disease name; euphoria. Regardless of the wishes of super progressives and even conservative nationalists, that effect sooner or later will be felt, it depends on how many super progressives there are among the authorities.”
Against this backdrop of protests, it was reported that the “My Step” alliance had already started preparing for Arayik Harutyunyan’s resignation and was seeking candidates who may replace him.
Positive articles have also been declared. In particular, members of the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party met with Minister Harutyunyan, after which they stated that they were satisfied with the answers of the minister. The meeting focused mainly on issues related to the Armenian language and Armenian history.
Some public figures, however, supported Arayik Harutyunyan’s decision to provide financial assistance to the “Mel” film and welcomed the decision of making Armenian language and Armenian history subjects non-compulsory.