On February 16, at 16:00 “Antares Media Holding” and “The LOFT” organized a discussion on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan / Nikol Pashinyan’s book, “The Other Side of the Earth”. The Prime Minister also attended the event.
On the same day at 18:48, Director of the “5th Channel’’ Harutyun Harutyunyan wrote on his Facebook page that their journalist’s entrance was banned. “It’s not as if the news about Prime Minister is not interesting to the channel, the case is that the new elite does not find it appropriate to let us cover it. And that is when you are accrediting the TV the day before and sending a group. I am talking about the discussion on Nikol’s book that took place in “The Loft”. I was watching “Azatutyun’s” live broadcast and thinking about the new elite. You guys are poor!”
Speaking to the “Media Advocate” initiative Harutyun Harutyunyan said: “We accredited the channel the day before. Just the journalist whose name we had given beforehand was ill and couldn’t be present, so we sent another reporter with a cameraman. Our journalists had our “Press Card” with them. It was said on the spot that the journalist was ill, but they did not let them in.”
Mr. Harutyunyan said he does not want to ask the Government to clarify anything and does not want to do anything.
Prime Minister’s Press secretary Vladimir Karapetian was surprised at the beginning when he was informed that the “5th channel” was banned from entering the event. “What do I have to do with it, who has forbidden? Who has given an accreditation?” After our explanation that Harutyun Harutyunyan wrote about this problem on his Facebook page, Karapetyan said: “You should call “The Loft”. We have no connection if someone has forbidden them to enter, talk to them. They’ve made the list. ”
“The Loft’s” Director Arevik Hambardzumyan denied the information provided by Vladimir Karapetyan and noted that they only provided a platform for the event and added that they have not done accreditation of media.
From Armen Martirosyan, Director of “Antares” Company, we found out that he was the one dealing with journalists’ accreditation. “All responsibility for accreditation is mine. I have applied to the news agencies that cover cultural news. These people (The 5th Channel) were not familiar to us, I do not know them. There is no biased approach, I just do not know them, “said “Antares” director.
According to Armen Martirosyan, he was called on Saturday morning when the lists had already been sent to those people who were invited; guests and journalists. The lists have already been sent to security. “I was asleep, they said we would call later, after waking up, not having received a call for a while, I called myself. They said they wanted to replace their journalist and accredited him. I was surprised, at least I did not know about their accreditation, but I thought one of our employees has added them. They wanted to replace the journalist because their journalist was ill. I said that the security and the protocol warned us that the lists should be provided a day before. I added that I do not think I could change anything, but I have asked them to send a photo of their journalist as well. I have also been contacted by other media having the same trouble. I have said that I will come and try to solve the issue but before I reached, our chief editor, has already asked about such an issue to security and protocol officials for one of the news agencies, which was later allowed to enter.”
Martirosyan also mentioned that they have managed to help the people who followed his request and waited until they arrived. “I regret that there was a news agency which was not allowed in, but I called them to send a passport, and now I have the picture on my phone if I was not interested, why would I call?”
A situation is as follows: the Press Office of the Government Staff did not deal with the accreditation of the media because of some incomprehensible reasons and that function was assigned to a private company which should not have to deal with such organizational work at all.
A question arises about what the Prime Minister’s press service was doing. The “5th Channel” TV made a mistake as well, as in case of the events with the participation of the country’s leaders or a Prime Minister, even having a 2-letter mistake in a name can serve as a basis for the person not to be allowed in. The prime minister’s protocol and security have not done their job properly and precisely as well; they have let a news agency enter, even though it was not registered beforehand.
P.S. The “Media Advocate” initiative is called upon to protect freedom of speech in Armenia and the right of the public to receive unbiased information.
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