Fake News That Was Circulated And Refuted Between December 15-31

Arshaluys Barseghyan


The final release of false and refuted news of 2019.

Marutyan is not the director of “Two and a Half”

Zhoghovurd Daily reported on December 5 that Hayk Marutyan had not ceased to be the director of the company “Two and a Half” after becoming mayor of Yerevan thereby breaking the law. Although a spokesman for the mayor denied the allegation and published evidence of his dismissal as a director, the Corruption Prevention Commission initiated proceedings (which were later dropped) based on the newspaper’s publication.

To verify this information, Media.am has downloaded the same extract from the State Register of Legal Entities on which the publication of Zhoghovurd was based. As a result, it turns out that the media downloaded in data from 2012, even though the most updated data available at the time of publication was from 2018. And yet they did not mention that the excerpt they used was seven years old.

And the most recent one available now is 2019. The excerpt shows that the publication of the newspaper was wrong. On November 3, 2018, a change of company director was registered and the brother of the mayor, Arman Marutyan, was named as director.

The demonstration was a year ago

On December 22, Hayeli.am, citing www.aravot.am, reported that a protest was held in support of Robert Kocharyan in Stepanakert. However, Media.am found out that the protest called “We do not leave our heroes alone” did take place, except it happened a year ago on the same day, December 22, 2018. The news was posted on Hayeli.am one year late, and as of December 30 at 9:40 pm has had 33,275 views according to the website. The post presenting the old news as something new has also spread across several Facebook groups and pages.

Time’s article on Armenia was not custom-ordered

On December 14, American Time magazine referred to Armenia’s economic growth and characterized the country as a “Caucasian tiger.” Days after the publication, a number of media outlets reported that the article was commercially ordered by the Armenian authorities. This news was checked by the Information Check Center which discovered the following.

The article is divided into two parts: The first part is about Armenia’s economic successes, and the second part is about Khachaturov Group and Armeconom Bank. Unlike the first part, the second part is really commercial content.

In an interview with the Information Check Center, the magazine’s editor explained, “The first part of the article was made on the basis of our initiative and research, it is not commercial, so it was not funded by anyone” and added that although the rest of the article is commercial in nature, they chose the organizations themselves, not the other way around.

No-one skied in Tsakhkadzor’s green forest

On December 17, Gagik Surenyan posted a photo of a group of people skiing in the green forest of Tsakhkadzor. Without checking the accuracy of the picture, Pan.am posted it on its Facebook page, writing: “… it is winter, there is no snow in the mountains of Tsakhkadzor.”

However, if the media decided to check with the publication of the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations Meteorological Service, it would reveal that the picture was taken not in Tsakhkadzor but in the Moscow Reserve five years ago. This and several other images from this campaign are available on their livejournal.com blog site. A user named “oleg_volkov” wrote on March 23, 2014, how their nine-member group had closed the ski season the previous day.

You won’t change your sex with a vaccine

During a December 16 Haylur news program on Channel 5, Marina Khachatryan, the president of Healthy Society, stated that vaccines can change the genetics of children. “If the basis of the vaccine is that of a girl and the vaccine is injected into the boy, his DNA is changed and the boy will develop female tendencies,” Khachatryan said.

This and a number of other claims made by her have been looked into by the “Fact-Checking Platform” which explains that “human DNA is formed during the fusion of maternal and paternal sex cells. At that moment the karyotype of the organism has already been clearly determined, it cannot be changed with any vaccination.”

Two denials

1․ The National Security Service released a statement on December 27 calling the publication of 168.am “fake” and “frustrating,” as it claimed that the NSS conducted a sociological poll, with results showing that Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s rating is at 19.5%.

The National Security Service also said in a statement that “reliable operative data” had been issued “that a closed sociological survey was conducted last month at the behest of some former elite officials.” As a result, Prime Minister Pashinyan’s rating has been at a record high, which has deeply disappointed former government officials.

On the same day, the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) Vice President Armen Ashotyan denied the NSS statement and demanded “to refrain from the day’s information war.”

2. On December 28, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia denied a Facebook post made by former Justice Minister Arpine Hovhannisyan stating that the ministry had “received a letter from the Venice Commission on the situation surrounding the Constitutional Court.”

The Ministry clarifies: “Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan congratulated the Chairman of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio on Christmas and New Year, in response to which the Chairman of the Commission also congratulated Rustam Badasyan on the occasion of the holidays.”

But this also did not convince the former minister, and she said in another post, “I am grateful that the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it has received the appropriate letter from the Venice Commission. Sorry, the Venice Commission did not convene an extraordinary or special session for you during the holidays to formally take a position but said in an informal letter that the matter was urgent, that you had nothing to disclose.”

Arshaluys Barseghyan

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