Kapan's Khustup TV's Kapanlur news program won't be broadcasting during the pre-election period. The TV station's management has decided not to cover the Sept. 9 mayoral elections campaign in this southern Armenian city.
There are two candidates — incumbent Artur Atayan, an Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun or ARF-D) member, and Ashot Hayrapetyan, put forth by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia.
"Considering the fact that I'm an ARF-D member, in order not to turn the TV station into a target, to refrain from unnecessary labelling, we've ceased our news broadcasts," says Khustup TV's Executive Director Sasun Manukyan.
However, the TV station hasn't refused political advertising. It offers paid broadcasting to candidates of both the mayoral and aldermen elections.
"From the start of the election campaign we've ensured equal conditions for all candidates; even the sequence of paid political advertising is determined according to a draw, with the participation of representatives from the two mayoral candidates' campaign offices," says Manukyan.
Political advertising is broadcast during Kapanlur's time slot — twice a day, at 8:30 pm and 11:30 pm. Candidates are given 5 minutes each. Khustup TV has set the rate for minute of paid political advertising for mayoral candidates at 6,000 AMD (about $15 USD); for aldermen candidates, it's 4,800 AMD (about $12).
Currently, only mayoral candidates have made use of the paid advertising. Aldermen candidates have expressed a wish to avail of the paid advertising option during the last days of the campaign period.
Kapan's Sosi TV station also broadcasts political advertising: one minute of such advertising for mayoral candidates costs 5,000 AMD (a little over $12); for aldermen candidates, it's 4,000 AMD (about $10).
Sosi TV will also be covering the election campaign in its news broadcasts. Sosi TV Director Vahe Sargsyan says their Lurer news program provides equal airtime to all candidates.
"The mayoral candidates' campaign offices know they can keep us abreast of their meetings, and we are equally committed to cover them," he says.
Meri Soghomonyan, Kapan