Public TV Explains Absence In Kirants

Marianna Danielyan


The Public Television of Armenia has provided limited information to its viewers about the protests in Tavush against the decision to demarcate borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Between April 20 and May 5, the TV company did not send a journalistic team to Tavush, had no correspondent on the spot, and did not follow the development of events in either the primary or Sunday editions of “News” on Public TV.

The residents of Kirants village in the Tavush region had complaints, disagreements, and concerns about the border delimitation process. However, their opinions and stories were not presented on public platforms.

Public TV has mainly been covering the demonstrations, protests, and acts of disobedience that have been ongoing for over two weeks. The coverage has consisted chiefly of statements from state departments. Information about citizens arrested during protests has often been presented, referencing the police and the Investigative Committee.

During the observed period, only on April 25, the journalistic team of Public TV prepared a reportage documenting the protest actions that occurred throughout the day in Tavush, Yerevan, and other Armenian settlements.

On all other days, the TV company limited itself to presenting the statements of the official departments or the representatives of the ruling Civil Contract Party, or using the footage shot by other media, and provided brief information about what happened during the day.

The report about the risks of border demarcation and spreading fake news during the Sunday edition of “News” on April 28 did not include the comments, worries, and demands of the residents of Tavush. The journalist presented and analyzed the situation with the help of two political analysts in a report lasting more than ten minutes. Both analysts expressed similar opinions, stating that the protest movement is not just an internal process and has a Russian presence. They also analyzed the actions of civil disobedience, such as the protesters blocking the interstate road between Armenia and Georgia.  

“News”  covered the events that took place in Kirats on May 2 only partially.

On May 2, the black berets initially detained 30 Kirants residents. Subsequently, the detained locals reported the use of force against them and claimed that they were injured. Following this, the police decided to restrict entrance to the village to individuals with Kirants village registration only.

While covering these cases, “News” only presented reports from state agencies stating that the road leading to the village was closed for demining works in Kirats. It was also noted that the citizens who committed the violation were released after the administrative offense protocols were drawn up. According to the message issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, it was stated that the publications claiming that those people were subjected to violence while being taken to the police station do not correspond to reality.

At the end of the observed period, during the Sunday edition of May 5, once again, without interviewing Kirants residents or presenting their position, the report states that the experts have noted: “Local residents have legitimate fears, anxieties, and valid questions regarding their homes, lands, safety, and the entire process. Despite efforts to address these concerns, deliberate “noise” is created to prevent these answers from being heard.”

According to Levon Barseghyan, the chairman of the “Asparez” club of Gyumri journalists, Public TV provided incomplete coverage of the events in Tavush.

“I must say that Hanrayin’s coverage of the events in Tavush was very poor. The coverage mainly consisted of interviews with analysts organized in Yerevan, rather than reports prepared on the spot. I believe that not only the attitude of the residents of Kirants, but also the opinions of residents of other settlements, the ongoing changes in Tavush, the violations of journalists’ rights, and the actions of the police should be documented in accordance with the principles of journalism. These should be presented to the public on a daily basis through neutral reports,” said Levon Barseghyan.

Levon Barseghyan reminds that he had addressed these issues in 2018, when Nikol Pashinyan’s marches were not covered.

“Various media outlets have different editorial policies, often influenced by the owner’s socio-political views, resulting in polarized coverage. On the other hand, public media aims to provide comprehensive and neutral coverage to meet the informational needs of the public”. However, the chairman of the board of the Asparez club believes that public media requires significant internal reforms as it does not currently fulfill its mission.

According to Barseghyan, Public TV faced no financial, technical, or professional resource limitations and could have established a correspondence point in Tavush and conducted comprehensive coverage.

In response to the written inquiry by Media.am on May 6, the Public TV Company stated that they have had a reporter in the Tavush region since 2013. However, they mentioned that due to the reporter’s health and age, they do not assign coverage of events that may pose a risk or physical discomfort.

The absence of reports featuring Tavush residents in the “News” editions, where they could express their concerns and voice their demands, is interpreted by the Public Television as follows:


“The concerns and grievances of Tavush residents were expressed during the Prime Minister’s two visits to Tavush. These issues were raised in meetings with local residents and were extensively covered in news publications. None of their concerns were overlooked.”

In their response on May 7, Public TV expressed regret that there was an impression that “News” did not cover the events of Tavush. They also mentioned that there would be references to the events in future editions and promised to resolve the issue with the upcoming Sunday edition.

After receiving the reply letter and looking at the main edition of “News” on May 7, it is important to note that it was not the journalistic group of Public TV that visited Kirants. Instead, using the NewDay.am website, they broadcasted an interview with the administrative head of Kirants village, Kamo Shahinyan. In the interview, Shahinyan expressed his satisfaction with the demarcation works that had taken place up to that point. According to the information available at the time, he stated that the works were carried out in favor of Armenia.

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