Journalist Lawmakers in Parliament: Is the List Complete?

It turns out that journalists aren’t opposed to engaging in law-making activities — but what prompts them to leave pen and paper behind and travel the road to parliament?

For example, journalist, talk show host Petros Ghazaryan recently confirmed that he will be running in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He is tentatively in the top 10 list of the Prosperous Armenia party’s proportional ballot — party leader Gagik Tsarukyan is helping him in this matter.

Speaking to local daily Aravot, Ghazaryan said, “I see politics as team work and I see that Prosperous Armenia has the potential to represent a serious team. I’m sure that the Republican [Party of Armenia] will also implement serious internal reforms. On the other hand, there’s HAK [the opposition bloc the Armenian National Congress], and with these three controls in place, the parliament, replete with professionals, can have a very positive effect on the country. In this case I see myself in politics; otherwise, I don’t.”

After Ghazaryan’s interview, there were reports that several other journalists and press officers might also be nominated as candidates. These include: Aravot reporter Margarit Yesayan; Ministry of Foreign Affairs press spokesperson Tigran Balayan; aide to the prime minister, director of Armenpress news agency Aram Ananyan; director of news programs at Armenia’s Public TV Samvel Farmanyan; and Haykakan Jamanak (“Armenian Times”) chief editor, HAK representative Nikol Pashinyan. 

Journalists have been in in all of Armenia’s parliaments. Let’s enumerate:

In the current National Assembly are

  • Former Haykakan Jamanak reporter Naira Zohrabyan
  • H2 (Armenian Public TV) commentator Aram Safaryan
  • Journalist, publicist Lilit Galstian
  • Head of Public Radio’s Kamurj (“bridge”) program Ruzanna Arakelyan

Members of the first convocation of the Supreme Council (1990–1995) were

  • Chief editor of Sovetakan Hayastan (“Soviet Armenia”) newspaper Schors Davtian
  • Chief editor of Yerekoyan Yerevan (“Evening Yerevan”) newspaper Karlen (Kamo) Vardanyan
  • Journalist, later Hayastani Hanrapetutyan (“Republic of Armenia”) chief editor Aydin Morikyan, who was also elected in the first convocation of the National Assembly
  • Chief editor of the Vozni (“hedgehog”) satirical paper Aramayis Sahakyan
  • Chief editor of Garun (“spring”) monthly, writer and publicist Meruzhan Ter-Gulanyan, who was also in the next parliament
  • Editor of Hayk paper, Public TV and Radio president Samvel Gevorgyan
  • Journalist and publicist (later killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh War) Samvel Shahmouradian
  • Head of the state radio and television TV programs’ chief editorial economic propaganda department Ruben Hakobyan who was also a MP from 1995–1999

In the first convocation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia (1995–1999), lawmakers included:

  • Shogher Matevosyan [later, chief editor of the paper Chorrord Ishkhanutyun (“The Fourth Estate”)]
  • Broadcaster of the program Orenq ev Ishkhanutyun (“law and authority”), Orinats Yerkir (“Rule of Law”) party leader Artur Baghdasaryan
  • Producer and host of the TV program Kartsiq (“opinion”) Sergo Yeritsyan, who was also elected in the next parliament
  • The State Committee for TV and Radio’s studio art department director Juliette Kajoyan

In 1999–2003, National Assembly lawmakers included:

  • Chief editor of Yerkir daily (1991–1993), RFE/RL Armenian service (Azatutyun) employee (1993–1994), editor of Droshak (“flag”), and chief editor of Yerevan information center Aghvan Vardanyan
  • General director of Armenia’s state radio company (1995–1996) Stepan Zakaryan, who was also a MP in the next parliament
  • Chief editor of programs for foreign audiences at Armenia’s national radio Mher Shahgeldyan, who also was elected in the following
  • parliament
  • Editor of newspaper Iravunq Hayk Babukhanyan
  • Chief editor of the Republican Party of Armenia’s official publication Hanrapetakan (“Republican”) Tigran Torosyan

In 2003–2007, National Assembly lawmakers included:

  • Director of news and political programs at Yerkir Media TV Gegham Manukyan
  • Chief editor of Yerkir daily Spartak Seyranyan
  • Correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda (later Pravda), head of Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) party Aram Gaspar Sargsyan

Beginning from 1999, Tigran Torosyan has been elected in every parliament. He and Artur Baghdasaryan also chaired the National Assembly at different times.

Thus, it’s not strange that journalists are active in politics. We hope that journalists will voice intelligent remarks from the National Assembly and will prove their suitability for law-making activities.

Tigran Hovhannisyan

P.S. Perhaps the list I’ve detailed is not complete. We ask readers to complete the list, using the comments field below.

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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