From 11 to 30 January, 2020, the “Media Advocate” Initiative followed online media reports on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s personality and activities. 5 news agencies were monitored: 1in.am, armtimes.com, azatutyun.am, aravot.am and yerkir.am.
According to the monitoring, 981 articles were published on 5 selected websites regarding Nikol Pashinyan. 191 articles of which are negative, 52 are positive and 737 are neutral.
During the monitoring period, negative articles published on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, prevail.
Publicist Vahan Ishkhanyan wrote on his Facebook page that a wave of defamation has started against Hrayr Tovmasyan. According to him, for nine months not, Tovmasyan does not surrender to pressure of the authorities and has not resigned. “Defamations have been Nikol Pashinyan’s political weapon, the “ism” – the only “ideology” that he used by means of populist rhetoric and skillfully seized the power, and now with the same slanderous weapons the prime minister is trying to get rid of the opposition and independent state bodies, in face of independent judges.
The wave of criticism also was raised after Nikol Pashinyan announced at a news conference that Hrayr Tovmasyan had fawned himself and his wife. Hrayr Tovmasyan gave the Prime Minister 20 days to present the facts proving that point. Nikol Pashinyan presented Hrayr Tovmasyan’s pen as a fact. The pen became the number one topic on the political agenda. The publication of such a “fact” has become a ground of criticism and mockery. Following Nikol Pashinyan’s publication, Hrayr Tovmasyan’s lawyers announced that they are going to apply to court.
According to one of the analyses, Nikol Pashinyan is not going to reduce the powers of the Prime Minister. Before becoming prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan used to criticize the existence of so called “Super-Prime Ministerial” system.
Referring to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that the page of 1980s weapons is closed, Movses Hakobyan noted: “I don’t want to comment on Prime Minister’s words, the weapons of the 80s have been, are and will be in our army for a long time because they are the best weapons.”
From 276 articles published in 1in.am, 19 were negative, 26 were positive and 231 were neutral.
The news outlet has published the opinion of political scientist Arkadi Vardanyan, who thinks that such activity of Robert Kocharyan is a result of the authorities’ lack of seriousness and lack of common sense. “Besides, they have shown a film on Kocharyan’s “heroic way”on their 5th Channel. As you can see, they attack from all fronts, and who creates this opportunity, if not the government, if not Mr. Nikol Pashinyan himself?”
The news agency published Hrayr Tovmasyan’s statement that the CC president had given the prime minister 20 days to make at least a single credible statement. Hrayr Tovmasyan added that in case of not doing so he would ask his lawyers to file a lawsuit against Nikol Pashinyan for slander.
Tatevik Hayrapetyan, a member of the NA “My Step” fraction, delivered a speech at the PACE in the framework of the report “Threats to media freedom and journalists’ security in Europe”. That speech has it: “Positive changes in Armenia started in 2018 with velvet revolution, they are still in the process. During the tenure of reformist Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, content restrictions and violations of the rights of users of the Internet platform, have been reduced.”
Arsen Kharatyan’s speech was also positively assessed. According to it, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s call to express position on the negotiation process of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, was accepted and responded by 4 candidates of the Artsakh President. Based on the statements we have made, we can clearly state that the well-known Madrid Principles that have been negotiated until now are outdated or unacceptable to the Armenian sides.
From 233 articles published in aravot.am, 58 were negative, 13 were positive and 162 were neutral.
The news outlet addressed the mothers of dead soldiers who regularly protest in front of the government building. Nana Muradyan, referring to Nikol Pashinyan’s congratulation on Army Day, celebrated on January 28, said she was very offended as the Prime Minister did not mention their sons at least once.
According to a statement issued by Sasna Tsrer party, Nikol Pashinyan and Bako Sahakyan visited the servicemen’s housewarming while the Prime Minister did not meet Aleksander Kananyan, who was on a hunger strike.
Reflecting on the Karabakh thesis voiced recently by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Kapan, diplomat Matthew Bryza stated: “Pashinyan’s statements destroy the progress achieved by the co-chairs and presidents.”
The news agency also published Vahan Ishkhanyan’s critical remarks.
Referring to the Nikol Pashinyan-Hrayr Tovmasyan conflict, Vahagn Hovhakimyan noted: “Hrayr Tovmasyan may hardly speak on equal terms with any newly elected official in Armenia because he does not have that legitimacy.”
From 205 articles published in yerkir.am, 107 were negative, 1 were positive and 97 were neutral.
The news agency published all the negative articles listed above. The news that Hrayr Tovmasyan has filed a lawsuit against Nikol Pashinyan as well as Artur Ghazinyan’s statement that the staff of the Constitutional Reform Commission reminded Artur Ghazinyan of Pashinyan’s costume designers club, were published by the news outlet.
Arthur Hambardzumyan, co-founder and former member of the “Civil Contract” Party, noted that the large-scale police actions against the opposition are a result of personal fears. “There are people who come to power and use that power to fulfill their inner fears andinstinctive tendencies of revenge. This was Nikol Pashinyan’s instruction, on the one hand and the unconditional willingness to serve his lord by the chief of police, on the other hand.” He also added that Nikol Pashinyan had previously been involved in political trade with the former authorities.
From 174 articles published in yerkir.am, 2 were negative, 11 were positive and 161 were neutral.
“France is one of the main guarantors of the continuation of the peaceful negotiations on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement,” French President Emmanuel Macron said during the annual dinner of Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France. The French President noted that he is in contacts with both the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Azerbaijan, stating that ensuring the operative connection between the Armenian PM and the Azerbaijani President is one of the key steps to ease tension.
According to rumors, this summer French-Armenian doctor Gevorg Abgaryan is going to settle in Armenia with his family. They made the decision to move from Paris to Yerevan after the Velvet revolution. By the way, the doctor is the one who treated Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s cough in the post-revolutionary period.
From 92 articles published in azatutyun.am, 5 were negative, 1 were positive and 86 were neutral.
Hrayr Tovmasyan’s words that he will not respect himself if he withdraws in the current situation was published by the news outlet.
“Nikol Pashinyan’s government has initiated an ambitious reform agenda, including the areas of economy, justice and fight against corruption,” note the representatives of the world’s most prestigious human rights organizations in the annual report devoted to human rights situation in the world.
In general, the pen, that is the “fact” presented by Nikol Pashinyan, failed both on the social networks and in the media. In addition, the wave of mass arrests of oppositional socio-political figures sparked widespread criticism. Many have compared this to Stalinist repression occurred in 1937.