Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

հայերեն | english



Encouraging Name, Discouraging Activities


Ararat Davtyan, Karlen Aslanyan 
students of YSU journalism department
Bulletin 14

The Information Center (IC) has been functioning for more than a year on the 1st floor of the 3rd governmental building. However, as our observations show the center functions insufficiently. 7 ministries and the state statistic agency located in this building have their representatives who mainly tell citizens where to go and whom to apply concerning a problem instead of providing them with the information requested. “What is their job? They just ask where are you going, call and make clear that you can be accepted, take your passport and give you a badge”, says A. Mkrtchyan

The establishment of the Information Center was funded by the Development Ministry of Great Britain and the “Armenia - Public Services Development Program” organization. Initially the aim of establishing the Information Center was to provide official information to citizens without meeting officials. According to the head of public relations department of the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs H. Khachatryan currently the center carries out rather functions as a checkpoint and provides only printed information (guidelines, information papers, etc.) published by the ministries. As for answering concrete questions asked by citizens, it is impossible taking into account the fact that the place is usually overcrowded and is very small. “It would be very good if the employees of the Information Center had a computer database of answers to frequently asked questions which could be printed and passed to citizens”, says H. Khachatryan. M. Tovmasyan from “Armenia Public Services Development Program” organizations says that the Information Center is run by the ministries. According to M. Tovmasyan the Information Center has already made serious progress and effectively carries out its reception functions. The center first of all regulates the entrance of people (giving passes to people is one of the main functions of the center) and guides people telling them where to go and whom to apply. Besides, the Information Center officer registers the applicants name, problem and the date, which enables ministries to learn what kind of problems do the citizens usually face.  M. Tovmasyan emphasizes that the Information Center has a good potential and functions optimally. However, the reality is that the ministries’ policy of communicating with people leaves much to be desired. “Recently we organized trainings for the representatives of public relations and press-secretariat and it became clear that they see the core area of their activities through communicating with the society through press which is more one-sided than interactive. As for direct communication with beneficiaries, it is not taken into consideration”, says M. Tovmasyan and stresses that they are carrying out activities aimed at filling this gap and that the Information Center plays a significant role in this process.

As for the opinion that the Information Center is very slow on the way to functioning in its full capacity M. Tovmasyan preferred not to blame anyone and only said that all the engaged parties should work more actively.

P.S. The Information Center created for making official information accessible for the population is itself not accessible for all. Entering the 3rd governmental building handicapped people can use the ramp at the entrance. But movement inside the building is already impossible. H. Khachatryan says that the handicapped can be allowed to enter the building through the back entrance, but this idea is seems unacceptable for first group invalid Z. Batoyan from “Bridge of hope” NGO. “Why should invalids be separated? Individual approach means not separation from others but creation of opportunities and conditions for the person to feel valued. Anyway, it should be mentioned that in the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs they assured us that they are going to install handrails, which will partially solve the problem. M. Tovmasyan assured us that negotiations are held in order to fully solve the problem. 

← Back to the list

Share |