Samvel Nikoyan Doesn’t Want to Work with the Parliament’s Media Relations Officer

National Assembly Chair Samvel Nikoyan hasn’t complied with the reporters working in parliament and hasn’t reviewed the decision to dismiss head of the National Assembly Public Relations and Media Department Gohar Poghosyan.

Poghosyan was sacked on Jan. 30. Samvel Nikoyan applied the highest disciplinary sanction to his number one staff person responsible for media relations for being absent from work following the holidays on Jan. 9–11 for reasons considered invalid. At the time, Poghosyan was in another country. She said she had health issues and presented a doctor’s note accordingly.

“I also informed the head of the National Assembly staff and his deputy, who wished me a speedy recovery, about my illness by telephone. I think that I took all those steps in good faith that ethics requires…

“… Even if they consider my absence invalid (although I don’t agree with this), such a strict punishment was disproportionate,” Poghosyan said in an interview.

Arman Galoyan, a reporter with local daily Joghovurd, subsequently launched a campaign to collect signatures in Poghosyan’s defense. “Gohar Poghosyan has become a victim of illegality, and knowing her as a person and a professional, I couldn’t turn a blind eye to what happened,” he said.

“We consider that which happened to Gohar Poghosyan to be unacceptable. And we urge you to immediately review and annul the decision to dismiss  head of the National Assembly Public Relations and Media Department Gohar Poghosyan,” reads the statement signed by 65 journalists. 171 

Nikoyan, finding out about the petition, today met with reporters. Those present at the meeting said that it was a surprise for the parliamentary speaker to see journalists from news outlets with different (political) orientations among those who signed and supported the statement defending Poghosyan. 

According to the meeting participants, Nikoyan said that Gohar Poghosyan presented a fake disability document. The parliamentary chair is not preparing to review the decision, but is preparing to meet and speak with his former employee 1–2 months later.

Poghosyan said that at the time, she refused Nikoyan’s suggestion to write a resignation letter (which is required in Armenia even when the resignation is involuntary).

Poghosyan had been working at the National Assembly for nearly 20 years. She is preparing to consult with attorneys and decide her route in defending her rights. 

Gegham Vardanyan

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