After the fire in the press building, it became clear that the power transmitter had burned down and the elevators had not been operating for a long time. The electricity problem is not resolved. The media outlets situated in the press building have somehow solved the issue of their electricity so that the editorial work does not suffer. Those in charge have not yet set deadlines, and the media is facing new challenges every day on how to continue their work. The attitude of the relevant authorities towards the building staff is inappropriate.
“Media Advocate” Initiative talked to Editor-in-Chief of Aravot Daily, Aram Abrahamyan about the incident, who noted that due to them the newspaper and website continue their regular activity. “The website staff mostly works from home, and our friends collect and print the newspaper.”
Editor-in-chief of Novaya Vremya newspaper, Ruben Satyan noted that already ten days have passed since the incident and nothing has been done yet: “The restoration work is in zero state. Yesterday I went there and the state was the same, as it was after the fire”, noted Mr. Satyan. He also added that he had applied to the relevant authorities: “I have applied to the head of the State Property Management Committee, Narek Babayan. I mentioned the amount of property damage, but there is no response yet. Narek Babayan came here, saw the condition and went. I called the government and I could not find even the press secretary. I’ve done what I can.”
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper conveyed the words of the one responsible for the building: “You may complain whoever you want to?” According to Mr. Satyan, the fire was organized and their floor suffered the most. “Why should there be a fire on Saturday, when there is not anyone in the building? It is a force majeure situation, people are out of work, without salaries, the newspaper is out of order, and they are not acting, it is a non-working day for them (meaning the authorities). ” According to Mr. Satyan, in such situations the governments are at least trying to support, compensate, there is no remark on all this.
Mr. Satyan was also surprised, in particular, by the attitude of human rights organizations dealing with the press. “For example, the Yerevan Press Club, its funding would be enough for the fire, but even for more. No calls have been received. The press covers the case but they are indifferent. Well, let them come and stand up for our rights. They constantly talk about free press …Then? Nothing has changed, we still have insiders and outsiders. The free press is the one that doesn’t look for help. Everything is done for the opposite. Now I am sitting on the 3rd floor, the editorial office is not working, but I am paying for the service, the taxes, how should I pay? Now I have to go and beg for help.”
Mr. Satyan notes that this sluggishness is most likely because of the State Property Committee trying to get the media outlets out of the building. According to him, last year they hold a meeting with the press, which was also attended by Mr. Satyan and the question have been raised that after the end of the contracts a tender will be announced and whoever pays more will continue working in the press building. This issue has been the subject of heated discussions, after which the State Property Committee, according to Satyan, did not proceed the case.
“Media Advocate” initiative is concerned about the situation and urges the authorities to organize smooth operation of the press, until the affected areas are restored.