Member of fact check team at Media Initiatives Center
Over the past two weeks, Zhamanak daily has published three pieces of fake news about the Pan-Armenian Games, which will launch on August 6 in Artsakh’s capital, Stepanakert. The newspaper speculated Robert Kocharyan’s name and the Artsakh issue.
News 1: They are prohibited from entering Artsakh
On June 15, Zhamanak daily wrote that “Armenian participants from Georgia and Turkey would be forbidden from going to Artsakh” to participate in the Pan-Armenian Games.
Spokeswoman for the Pan-Armenian Games, Anna Vardanyan, spoke with Media.am saying that she does not want to address the issue again, putting the false information into circulation again. She noted, however, that it was not the first time that her statements stressed that both Georgia and Turkey would be participating in the games.
The deadline for applications for participation in the games is July 1, and the results should be announced on July 5.
This is not the first time that Artsakh is officially hosting the Pan-Armenian Games. In 2015, it was held again in Artsakh. The article about the Georgian and Turkish delegation was the first but not the last to speculate the participation in the games in Artsakh, (see news 3).
News 2: This was all done for Robert Kocharyan
On June 18, the same Zhamanak newspaper published another controversial news on the Pan-Armenian Games. According to the newspaper, “The Pan-Armenian Games Olympic Committee and public circles supporting the Pan-Armenian Games call for [...] the three presidents of Armenia to participate in the opening ceremony of the Games on August 6, in Artsakh.”
The allegation was followed by an analysis by the author of the article whereby Serzh Sargsyan and Levon Ter-Petrosyan would refuse to attend the ceremony. The author also concludes, “All this is done to bring Robert Kocharyan to the event and present him as a supporter of Pan-Armenianism.”
The newspaper did not specify why the two presidents would refuse to participate. Moreover, he did not bring any proof or source regarding the idea of Kocharyan “showing support.”
On the same day, the Pan-Armenian Games International Committee issued a statement denying the allegations of the newspaper.
News 3: The Iranian delegation refused to participate
The newspaper claimed that Iran, like Georgia and Turkey, refused to participate in the Games. The newspaper also clarified that the reason was not to spoil relations with Azerbaijan.
No such a statement made by Iranian officials was quoted by the newspaper, and it did not bring any other evidence or source.
The Pan-Armenian Games Press Service issued a statement regarding the falsification of the news, noting that according to the preliminary results, the Iranian delegation is among the largest.