Public Television’s news service has been working without a board since June 19. The Director of Media Service, Harutyun Harutyunyan and Head of the news program Agenda (Orakarg), Artak Herikyan, applied for a dismissal.
Host-journalists Taron Kokhlikyan and Lara Arakelyan also left with them.
In recent months, Public Television’s News department has often been criticized for their coverage of the My Step movement, for not having covering it fairly.
News of the dismissal of news directors also coincided with the call made by the leader of the My Step movement, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in a Facebook post where he wrote:
“Some TV companies have, in effect, taken advantage of the opportunity for freedom of speech, and decided to implement anti-government propaganda.”
Immediately after this post with an unclear addressee, Artak Herikyan and Harutyun Harutyunyan left the TV company at the suggestion of the Public Television Head.
Artak Herikyan told media.am “My application has nothing to do with Nikol Pashinyan’s post, which, in my opinion, is not an attempt to suppress freedom of speech, but simply a hint of danger and concern from a former colleague. I have submitted my resignation by the recommendation of Public Television’s Administration.”
Harutyun Harutyunyan said in an interview with media.am a few days ago, “ I love my job and, as a rule, do not want to leave that which I love to do… of course, I am ready to work, since I went to the Public Television Company with the goal of having my own imagined television company.”
Artak Herikyan said that the first few days of the My Step movement didn’t get air time because the movement had not yet received a public sound. “Yes, we didn’t cover the hike starting from Gyumri, but we aired the very first rallies that collected a substantial amount of people in Yerevan. I admit that we didn’t respond proportionally, but I think that very few people thought that the movement would lead to serious public changes. It’s not a matter of justification, just a fact.”
Harutyun Harutyunyan said that now “there are exceptionally good conditions for journalism that have long since been broken in our country.”
For Artak Herikyan, these two months were a “journalistic eruption,” when there was an opportunity to recall important professional qualities.
“I think that it’s no secret that television has never been fully independent,” he said.
He spoke of how his generation went to television to break Soviet stereotypes. “Maybe we didn’t manage to, or we didn’t want to fight and resist, choosing instead the path of compromises. We didn’t even understand that even we came close to the same Soviet style.”
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