Today’s press conference with the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, lasted 4.5 hours. There were also questions about journalism and the work of the media. We present passages from Nikol Pashinyan’s response.
On the criticism of the press and targetting of the press
The State Property Management Department and the City Hall have had some problems with the editorial offices. I was informed several times that the media are discussing whether this is the revenge of the Prime Minister on the press and so on. Let’s leave this frame of logic that I am the one providing you a lease or that other questions are confirmed by me. This is a misunderstanding of the situation. I have never tried to execute revenge against anyone, and I don’t need to.
We are now working with different organizations to create an independent media outlet in Armenia. Why not do it with the budget? Because if we do it through the budget, it will seem as though we want to take control of the media using financial leverage.
We must understand that in many cases when there are political restrictions, we cannot do anything against the press, freedom of speech, but people cannot remain completely defenseless, they find some forms of self-defense. This is not a campaign against the media, but an invitation to come together to form some common ground, to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and to work together normally.
After the revolution, there was a big process of acquisition and selling in the media field.
After all of this, we must note that there is some kind of issue. Now, do we want to solve it together, or continue in the same regime of either politicians boycotting journalists, or journalists boycotting politicians?
We must solve these issues together. Enough moving forward with the presumption of conflict.
About the freedom of the press
Let no one have any doubts, there will be no problems with the freedom of the press in Armenia. Even if all the media becomes privatized. We will not take any actions against the press. With the only exception being when the law is grossly violated.
I did not give freedom to the press, but the Consitution of the Republic of Armenia did, and maybe the revolution created new opportunities.
It is not the government’s job to control the media. You can think about the control, the reader can think about it.
Democracy is an absolute value for us. Freedom of speech also. Can you imagine that I have been a journalist for so many years, and suddenly, under my rule, the government of Armenia starts to monitor the media or starts launching harassment campaigns against the media?
I am proud that any media outlet and journalist is confident that there are opportunities that exist for their work, that need to exist in a de jure country.
Sometimes I feel a great sense of pride for our press. Today, we have many high-level journalists, whose activities would bring honor to the world’s most advanced media outlets. High-level experts whos activities would bring honor to the world’s leading expert centers. Indeed, it’s a matter of pride for me, and I believe that those people are responsible for the changes and responsibilities that are taking place in the country.
During these 8 months, some journalists and experts were formed, whose opinions have become important for me. I hear what they say. Every time I feel great pride that there is such thought, journalistic work and discussion. Sometimes they find the right way out of what seems like a dead-end situation.