The Power of the Media — Is There Such a Thing?

Samvel Martirosyan

Media researcher

The expression “fourth estate” has been passed down to us as a legacy of Soviet reality, from which we were to have understood and till today we understand that news media is a powerful force that has to be reckoned with.


On Oct. 10, several of us “Facebookers” had gathered outside Armenian architect Rafael Israelyan‘s house. Or rather, outside that partly demolished structure in whose place a “multi-functional hotel building” is to be built (as per the construction notice).


The construction vehicles were demolishing, those gathered were trying to call here and there so that the work might be suspended at least for a certain period of time, so that it would be possible to understand what was going on, what to do and so on.


Anyway, reporters soon arrived on the scene. Some found out about the demolition of the architect’s house through Facebook. That is, the clamour was assured. There are fewer reporters very often at press conferences than there were here. Different departments responded to our calls and said they already sent someone, to get acquainted with the issue on site and so on. 


And what? Nothing. Those demolishing suspended their work for about half an hour, came out and spoke without hiding anything. They stated that they’re 100% sure — that is, they know for a fact — that Beethoven lived in 90 houses, 40 of which were demolished and no one complained. 


And then they demolished the house.


No one from the press was afraid. No one was upset. So not upset were they that events took a different course. Well what is the power of the “fourth estate” then?


Or is the media useful only in those cases where there’s already a split among antisocial conspirators and it remains only to give an opportunity to one of the parties as an excuse to make use of the uproar, or when the issue of money doesn’t prevail?


One way or another, in this case, the media was powerless to intervene. And it goes without saying that these days anyone could open a news site in 10 days and with 100,000 drams ($267 USD), employ one and half journalists and defend its rights from infringement by the rest.


But preserving the city’s historical image likewise might be viewed as an infringement. As one of the demolition workers, an unknown, but very interested persona, declared on site: “It’s an Armenian’s nature, someone else does something good, immediately they all gather round…”


Samvel Martirosyan

The views expressed in the column are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Media.am.

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