CoronaMyths: September 7-18

Arshaluys Barseghyan


Media.am singled out the misinformation and conspiracy theories that were spread regarding the epidemic between September 7-18.

The reopening of school with masks and anti-epidemic rules, Armenian tests, and the vaccine that had not yet arrived in Armenia were all occasions for CoronaMyths. ArmNews and Angela Tovmasyan’s collaborating media resources continue to be an active source of spreading the news on these topics. The World Health Organization has also been targeted.

WHO anti-epidemic guidelines are “psychological stereotypes” for lragir.am columnist

“The WTO threatens humanity again. Will they be heard in Armenia?” Lragir.am columnist Hakob Badalyan presented a scandalous title-question. The author claims that COVID-19 has “seriously shaken the world reputation of the WHO,” “exacerbated the question of the purpose of this structure,” “failed its mission to protect the world from the epidemic,” “sent contradictory signals to the public.”

For Badalyan, the telephone conversation between the head of the WTO and Prime Minister Pashinyan has become a cause of conspiracy theories “Perhaps the purpose was to recruit allies in the context of accusations?”

The other rhetorical question concerns Armenia’s anti-epidemic behavior․ Will they continue to be built according to WHO guidelines? “Instructions, the purpose of which seems to be to keep the world community at least in psychological molds, to impose a ‘new normal,'” the author ended the article with a conspiratorial conclusion.

Abraham Gasparyan, Arsen Torosyan and the Armenian tests

ArmNews TV news commentator Abraham Gasparyan harshly criticized the Prime Minister and his cabinet in the September 17 episode.

He also referred to the healthcare sector, more specifically to the locally produced COVID-19 tests. To claim without substantiation that “those tests are useless” and that the $500 million allocated for its production “was flushed down the toilet” (in the video from 14:07). Alina Nikoghosyan, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Justice, said in a conversation with Azatutyun TV that the tests “do not cause any problems.”

Continuing the topic, Gasparyan spoke about the minister in charge of the sphere and attributed the idea to Arsen Torosyan in a live broadcast, then made public conclusions based on it. According to him, Torosyan “would say daily, who the hell is the court system that I should listen to their orders…?” (in the video from 14:29). It was also published by tert.am, which belongs to “Quartet Media,” which owns the TV company.

This is a reference to Torosyan’s announcement on March 17, 2020. He spoke about the verdict live on Facebook, according to which he should have apologized to the father of Serzh Sargsyan’s son-in-law Mikayel Minasyan, the former director of St. Grigor Lusavorich Medical Center Ara Minasyan, and denied the information which had been considered defamatory.

The quote attributed to Torosyan is not in the video, instead, there is another thought process, with different wording.

“I want to announce live that I will post the court decision on my Facebook page and I will once again confirm what I said during those live broadcasts. I repeat. Moreover, I will state again that our judicial system does not enjoy the trust of the people of Armenia, it needs radical reforms, both in terms of procedure and in terms of individuals who continue to make court decisions,” said Minister Torosyan.

Each of the guests of the “Mirror” press club make more scandalous statements than the last

Angela Tovmasyan owns three media resources within the mirror brand: the TV program “In front of the Mirror,” the website hayeli.am and the “Mirror” Press Club. On these three platforms, both Tovmasyan, guests, and experts spread misinformation and myths about the coronavirus.

This time the guests of the press club gave some of the most scandalous announcements, one worse than the other, which were especially remarkable, and which appeared on their website without being verified.

հայելի Անժելա Թովմասյան

❌ Nune Nersisyan, who was relieved of the post of director of “Masis” MC, delved deeper into the topic of morgues at the press club. If until recently Nersisyan had said that by giving them 100 thousand AMD they would register the cause of death as being the coronavirus, now, according to the alarms she received, the bodies have been bruised and the eyes are taped. In the Abovyan morgue, the bodies are treated like ecological wastes, “piled up in a garbage bag on top of each other” (in the video from 10:20).

The allegations of “alarms” received by Nersisyan have been received through the mechanism of the broken telephone game, and the Ministry of Justice Torosyan has already filed a lawsuit against one of these allegations.

❌ The former head of Arabkir district Hovhannes Shahinyan assured in the same club that “the absolute majority of coronavirus deaths were as a result of experiments.” As a piece of “vivid proof,” he pointed to a number of high-ranking officials who had gone on vacation during this period (in the video from 7:40 minutes).

❌ Epidemiologist Elena Manvelyan insisted in the same place that we will not have a second wave of coronavirus if it is not filmed. She was against children wearing masks, because the risk of them getting sick is small, because, unlike adults, they are not afraid. But if they start to wear masks, they will become infected with fear, and “a situation will be created artificially according to which the children will begin to get sick” (in the video from 3:15 minutes).

Schools with a mask: an occasion for unification and struggle

Children attending school in masks and attending classes within the frameworks of anti-epidemic measures have become fertile ground for manipulations.

? Attorney Gegham Simonyan insisted in a September 16 post that “The Law of the Memorandum Requirement At School or other restrictions whereby ARE ILLEGAL, as confirmed by the court decision. “Since September 15, the restrictions applied in schools are illegal; no one has the right to impose that order on children and teachers.” The Ministry of Health considered it misinformation.

The lawyer’s statement is false and manipulative, as “the court actually withdrew the lawyer’s application, arguing that in order to challenge the guidelines for organizing activities in educational institutions in the field of coronavirus disease, he had to first argue the government’s decision, which was not done.” – Fip wrote about the topic.

? Dr. Grigor Grigoryan, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Homeland Development Fund, which is affiliated with the Hayrenik party headed by former NSS director Arthur Vanetsyan, this time decided to explain that the word “Quarantine” in Armenia means 40 days. In medicine, it aims to prevent the spread of infectious diseases from the epidemic center in 40 days, to eliminate the outbreak.

“And now, the government you elected has wrapped the 40-day event around your neck for 4 months and there is still no hope of eliminating the epidemic,” he wrote. He offered to either accept the idea of wearing a mask, “or you have to overcome your fears, join our team, and fight for science.” Grigoryan is one of the doctors who misleads on the topic of COVID-19.

? From the first day of the opening of the schools, Naira Zohrabyan, a member of the Prosperous Armenia faction, received photos, one of which depicting the children holding a rope, in another they were raising their hands. She described its content from the NA podium “children are like prisoners of war,” “it is slavery.”

However, the most scandalous topic was developed by hraparak.am, making a manipulative parallel to the picture of the children with a video posted on TikTok by the Prime Minister’s daughter Mariam Pashinyan a few days before.

Mandatory vaccinations: Fake post on a politicized Facebook account

A Facebook user under the name of “Anna Petrosyan” wrote on September 17 that the “Minister of Education and Science Arayik Harutyunyan ordered all the teachers and students in all schools to be tested by the end of October and then vaccinated.” This post was shared 813 times, reprinted on mushroom websites and medmedia.am, which spreads misinformation about COVID-19.

Media.am touched upon this topic and explained that this page is difficult to call a reliable source for a number of reasons. It was also noted that the news of “forced” testing and vaccination by the end of October is false. Existing COVID-19 vaccines are still being tested and will be available to the public only next year.

Arshaluys Barseghyan

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