After the changes that took place in the country in 2018, of course, there were personnel changes in the Public Television. The news service, in particular, changed two heads, each in their turn staffed the news service with its preferred personnel. Experienced and long-term staff were either fired or forced to leave “according to their own resignation letter”; Susan Badalyan, Hayk Hovhannisyan, Liana Karapetyan, Tatevik Nalbandyan, Ani Mejlumyan, Lusin Mkrtchyan, Hovik Afyan, Tigran Sirunyan, Siranush Muradyan… Armen Amirkhanyan, the long-term editor-in-chief of the news agency was fired, news commentators Kristine Melkonyan, Shahane Mezhlumyan and Abraham Gasparyan left the TV. The news commentators who were selected as a result of the new competition, worked for only a few months; Esther Mesropyan, David Grigoryan, Mamikon Simonyan. Paris and Moscow reporters Mariam Ter-Gulanyan, Khachatur Martirosyan, Ashot Mnatsakanyan, were also fired.
Thus, the people appointed by Nikol Pashinyan as heads of the media soon showed their unserious attitude and became a basis for the destruction of the media. Some of the journalists applied to court for unfair and unfounded dismissals, some, so to speak, did not want to be involved in court disputes, and joined other TV companies. It is incomprehensible that Nikol Pashinyan, who, after coming to power, started to get rid of the staff of the previous regime, left the chair of the executive director of ArmTV unchanged. Margarita Grigoryan continued to lead the Public TV, despite the fact that she was accused of being engaged in corruption scandals. Vahagn Tevosyan, who was appointed as the head of the news service, worked for only 6 months, then became a deputy of the National Assembly, joining the ruling party, and was then replaced by Petros Ghazaryan.
As a result of the monitoring, we noticed that Public TV Pavilion mainly hosted the representatives of the ruling party, that is the voice was given to one side; it mainly refers to Petros Ghazaryan’s interviews. Bodies whose main task is to ensure the natural course of activity of Public Television and which have high state funding – the Commission on Television and Radio and the Council of Public Television, could not control the happening.
However, perhaps, the biggest scandal during this period was related with the outflow of shots of the Prime Minister’s speech, which exposed the state of the Public TV. Many former employees of the Public TV, who were unfairly treated, posted updates on their Facebook pages. In an extensive interview with us, Hasmik Arakelyan noted that she had been subjected to political persecution and forced to remove important shots from the report on the army. Sports commentator Menua Mehrabyan, speaking about Margarita Grigoryan, considered her dismissal fair, noting that Grigoryan tried to ruin his career of a commentator.
The others did not want to give an interview, but were willing to tell their stories. We have noticed that the Prime Minister did not pay much attention to the outflow of shots, noting that it was a normal working process, it happens, however, he punished the executive director Margarita Grigoryan, the head of the news department Petros Ghazaryan. Nevertheless, it turned out that he would continue to conduct his interviews. As a result of the incident, Vardan Hakobyan, head of the group conducting the Prime Minister’s live, also resigned. The latter referred to the duties of the Prime Minister’s press secretary on his Facebook page. Mane Gevorgyan, in her turn, when referring to the topic, blamed everyone except herself.
“Media Advocate” Initiative condemns such an unserious and irresponsible attitude of the government towards the Public Television. The situation shows that Nikol Pashinyan, who once criticized this structure for being a tool of power, now, in fact, uses it for his own expediency, like all other spheres, he controls this structure and continues destruction of the Public TV with the wrong personnel policy.