YEREVAN (OC Media) — In two separate statements, over five dozen media organizations in Armenia condemned Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s continued holding of press conferences online, calling the format “non-democratic.”
On Friday evening, the Armenian Times (Haykakan Zhamanak) newspaper, which is majority-owned by Pashinyan’s mother-in-law, citing their “sources” in the government, reported that Pashinyan was about to announce a press conference — with questions to the Prime Minister read by a presenter employed by Armenia’s Public Broadcaster.
On Saturday, that information was confirmed by the Prime Minister’s staff. The press conference is to be held at 8 p.m. on June 27.
Shortly after Armenian Times published its news about the press conference, a group of editors, primarily employed by pro-opposition or opposition-leaning media outlets, issued a statement declaring a boycott of the press conference and refusing to send questions. The group included the editors of the Armenian Democratic Liberal publications Azg of Armenia and Zartonk of Lebanon.
“The previous experience has proved that such ‘online contacts’ take place in a prepared scenario; only the questions from the pro-government media, Telegram channels, and bloggers are publicized during these events, who, apparently, agree in advance with the organizers of the event, and in the case of the questions by other media — they are either ignored, edited or distorted,” the statement reads.