The Sphere Of Defense Is The Most Closed In Armenia: Black List

Gayane Asryan


Every year, the Freedom of Information Center publishes the names of officials who have violated the Freedom of Information Law. They appear on the black list for giving unfounded or incomplete answers to citizens and organizations, rejecting inquiries illegally, or leaving them unanswered.

In 2021, the list already included former Minister of Defense Vagharshak Harutyunyan, First Deputy Minister Arshak Karapetyan, former Mayor of Yerevan Hayk Marutyan, former Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister Arsen Torosyan, current NA Speaker Alen Simonyan and others.

The defense ministers, according to the organization’s summary of the black lists for 2011-2021, appeared in the lists the most and avoided providing information.

The Police, the National Security Service and the local self-government bodies also stood out with their non-transparent working style. The Ministries of Finance and Emergency Situations also avoided answering inquiries during the time of various ministers.

Director of the Freedom of Information Center Shushan Doydoyan says that the previous authorities were more serious and vigilant about blacklists and criticism from civil society in general. “After the publications, there was a noise, they often called for discussions, to understand why it turned out that way, to reconsider their attitude towards public communication.”

According to her, the current authorities do not pay proper attention to constructive criticism, and in some cases, the reaction is very heated and inadequate.

“Our practice over the years has shown that those who should be included in the black list are dismissed either before the list is published or shortly thereafter. There can be no secret working structure that works well. Secrecy means bad work,” she said.

Doydoyan quotes the latest data, while they were going to publish the black list of 2021, which included the names of Vagharshak Harutyunyan, Arshak Karapetyan, Hayk Marutyan, they resigned. Only NA Speaker Alen Simonyan is on the list, who is currently holding the post.

The organization of communication is an important factor in understanding how the structure or the official manages their field.

For transparency and accountability, this publication will be a very good indicator of the future of those officials who have failed in the field of communication․

“If the official fails to answer the inquiries, then there are some problems in their activity, otherwise they or the structure they head will want to be more public, not only to answer the questions of journalists and civil society representatives but also to initiate events, contacts and publicize information.”

When summarizing this data, the center is equally based on the answers to the surveys of the platform Givemeinfo.am, of the organization and the results of the organization of public communication by the given structure or official on its own initiative. “There are structures whose activities journalists and citizens are not interested in and it seems to them that it should be so, while the organizations fed by our taxes should be transparent and accountable to us.”

Press conferences, informal meetings with journalists, official websites, social network activity, official messages, etc. are observed.

Earlier, the center submitted a petition to the Ministry of Justice, proposing to increase the fine amount for violation of the right to information, in order to develop the practice of full, exhaustive, and timely response to inquiries.

Gayane Asryan

Add new comment

Comments by Media.am readers become public after moderation. We urge our readers not to leave anonymous comments. It’s always nice to know with whom one is speaking.

We do not publish comments that contain profanities, non-normative lexicon, personal attacks or threats. We do not publish comments that spread hate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *