Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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The information bog


Voskan Sargsyan, Tavush region
Bulletin 14

“A secluded, lonely place”: this is the title of the report about Tavoush region, prepared by one of my colleagues several years ago. Today the situation is almost the same. The farther you move away from Yerevan, the worse becomes the condition of information and speech freedom. Таvoush region is located on the edge of Armenia and the information sphere here is underdeveloped. Functioning in the region are “Qamut” (Noyemberyan) and “Ijevan studio” (Ijevan) TV companies and not a single local radio station. As for newspapers, they are not in demand, because needy people of the region spend 100 drams on their living and not on buying papers. Besides, local newspapers are mainly boring, law-quality and with a very small audience.

Usually, editors and journalists working for those papers are non-professionals. The regional newspapers publish very few critical articles. They only publish critical articles of moralizing nature without concrete addressees, for instance why do people throw their garbage in the streets and things like that. The abovementioned two TV companies are of course more influential, but the absence of regular news programs hinders influence growth and achievement of real rating. Working in the region are local reporters only from H1 and H2 TV companies. In short, the information field in Tavoush region is not established yet. 

Journalist Ani Meliksetyan is the head of information and public relations department of Tavoush regional municipality. She closely cooperates with journalists of the region and is always ready to share information with them. However, my 9-year journalist’s experience in working with the regional municipality shows that chairpersons and heads of departments of the municipality do not always provide information department with important information in time. Besides Ani, there is another employee in the department. Being a cameraman, he cannot substitute the department head. Structurally, the information and public relations department is in the secretariat of the regional municipality.  Tavoush regional municipality has a web site ( Like the web sites of other regions it has “General”, “Social structures”, “Companies”, “Courts”, “Budget”, “Decisions, legislative acts”, “People”, “Social”, “Education”, “Health”, “News archive” departments with information which can be more or less useful for journalists in their everyday work. In the municipalities of Ijevan, Dilijan, Noyemberyan and Berd cities there are no information services. Mayors of Berd and Noyemberyan cities Andranik Sharyan and Vanoush Amiraghyan say that they attach importance to the role of information services, but there are no financial means for hiring an information service employee. Mayors of the region talk with journalists personally. This is good in the sense that the information is received at first hand. But it is not always possible to find mayors in their offices. They can be on meetings in the regional center or in Yerevan. During the absence of the mayor responsible people of municipalities prefer to keep away from journalists. Situation in Ijevan regional center is the most “ideal”. Here the municipality publishes the “Ijevan” newspaper (once or twice a month). Once in three years, during the re-election of mayor Varoujan Nersisyan the paper becomes splendid and colorful, full of articles, declaiming the mayor’s deeds and bright perspectives of the city. “Ijevan studio” TV Company which has been functioning for already a year, actually belongs to the mayor and again praises him all the time. 

We are living in an information bog, in the calmness and tranquility specific of bogs. But we do hope that the situation will change for the better. It is demand that creates supply. Economic development, improvement of living standards and public services will bring to the establishment of more competitive mass media which will satisfy information needs of simple people and not only the interests of certain officials, parties or businessmen. In order to cooperate with mass media, municipalities will have information services or at least one employee, responsible for the field.  

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