On June 17 at around the same time, two photos went online, both with manipulative descriptions. The first photo was from Nikol Pashinyan’s mass rally in 2018, presented as if taken during the Civil Contract Party rally on June 17, 2021. The impression that this photo induced was that of wide public support for the party. The second picture was also showing Republic Square. It was taken before the start of the Civil Contract rally, but was said to have been captured while it was ongoing. The second photo, on the contrary, created the effect of fewer supporters standing for the party.
Old Pictures For New
On June 17, the Civil Contract Party had its pre-election rally, which took place upon the Armenian incumbent Prime Minister: Nikol Pashinyan’s call, at 20:00 in Republic Square.
At 18:46, some hours before the rally, the old photograph was published by the Facebook page “Dukhov” where Republic Square was seen brimming with people. The attached caption read: “Nikol Pashinyan’s rally today.”
The page mentioned the Deputy Chief of Nikol Pashinyan’s Staff, Taron Chakhoyan, as the source of their information. In reality, the photograph is old, it was captured on May 3 in 2018. Although the post may have had a facetious character, many shared it as an authentic fact.
The Union of Informed Citizens (UIC) NGO published photos and a video from Republic Square as of 20:00, June 17. The number of people gathered in the square is incomparably less than in the previous picture. According to the UIC’s calculation, at 20:49 there were about 21 thousand people in the Republic Square.
Pictures Before the Gathering
PARA TV also published photos from the Civil Contract rally, at 20:42 and with a status that read: “Nikol Pashinyan’s rally – right at the moment.”
At the time when the photo was published (20:42), the square was more crowded. The stage, in PARA TV’s photo, is empty; this means that the rally had not yet begun. There would have been a speaker’s podium, and the members of the party would already be standing on the stage at this hour. One can be convinced of this by looking at the live broadcast which was streaming on Nikol Pashinyan’s Facebook page starting from 20:08 that day.
Besides the broadcast, there is also the video of the UIC at 20:00, where Republic square looks altogether different from what PARA TV was presenting. At this time, members of Civil Contract were already on the scene and the square was far more crowded.
Therefore, on June 17, 2021 there were photos published from the Civil Contract rally that did not reflect reality: the real number of people that had gathered in Republic Square. On the contrary, in one case the square was portrayed as more crowded than it really was, and in the other – the photos were taken before the rally had begun, making it look like fewer people came.
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