On December 25, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke about the media during a New Year reception in honor of media representatives.
He congratulated the journalists and their families and reiterated his claim that our press is freer than ever after the revolution.
“Of course, there are some issues, and the question is raised that journalists and media are becoming a victim of so-called hate speech on social media, and that is a serious issue, of course. But I want to say that in this respect the government and myself find ourselves in exactly the same situation as the media.”
Speaking about attacks against the media or obstacles to their work, he said:
“I can only say one thing: There are opinions that perhaps such attacks or such phenomena are directed, moreover, organized by the authorities. I can say that such a thing simply cannot be. ”
In terms of the relationship between the media and government, Nikol Pashinyan prioritized transparency as news and feedback help to achieve the 100% transparency of government activity in the public.
“In spite of all the known and unknown shortcomings and complexities, I consider the activities that the media carry out today to be very important. I find it useful, first and foremost, for the government, and for the public, because if we are honest, if we are principled, if we are faithful to our commitments to the people, no news will ultimately harm us.
And if any news in this context can harm us, it is first and foremost our problem, our fault, for which we must, of course, be accountable to the public first and foremost.”
He added that he personally feels the positive impact on his work and is grateful for it.
“But I do not want to give the impression that I think everything should be left exactly as it is, because when we place importance on the transparency of power and the factor that ensures that transparency, the tool – the mass media, the question is – is it not logical that the public would also expect transparency from the mass media?
This, I think, is as legitimate an expectation as the expectation of transparency from the government, the authorities, and senior officials.”
Nikol Pashinyan, a longtime journalist and newspaper editor, ended his speech with a greeting, stressing several times that times have changed.
“And I want to say that I consider and am convinced that I have not been a better journalist than any journalist in the Republic of Armenia today, I have not been a better editor than any editor in the Republic of Armenia today.
But I can confidently say that (…) the times in which you are working as a journalist or editor are much better than the times in which I had worked as a journalist and editor.”
The difference, according to the Armenian Prime Minister, is that there are many bodies, organizations, media, ministries and officials in Armenia today who work using the same logic as was used 7 or 3 years ago.
“I do not want to make any assessment of the media because it is everyone’s right to choose. But I want to draw all of our attention to the fact that, nevertheless, that it is very important to use this time to make our media environment more favorable, to use a better media environment, to have a better media and to have a better media culture.”
He wished to, and then changed the word wish to “oblige” the media to be freer in 2020 than ever.