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The Closing of the Council Sitting is a Serious Challenge to Media

The entrance of journalists to Yerevan Council hall has been banned. The National Assembly has amended the RA Law “On Local Self-Government in the City of Yerevan”.

“Serious restrictions. This is the biggest danger that cannot be compatible with democracy.”,- said Shushan Doydoyan, the president of Freedom of Information Center of Armenia, during her talk to “A1+”.

The president of Freedom of Information Center states, that during the first reading the bill consisted of only 3-4 lines, where nothing about the work of journalists was mentioned. But within the interval between first and second readings a new bill was presented, which has quite a different content. No public discussion has been held. Journalists have not been given any chance to express their opinion.

The idea of holding the Council sessions without journalists emerged after the incident on February 13, when members of  “Yerkir Tsirani” faction brought water from Nubarashen open sewerage. RPA members beat “Yerkir Tsirani” members in front of cameras.

Shushan Doydoyan mentions, that the necessity was spoken about at that time, but the process had started even before that, when the issue of closing the government session was initiated and resolved. This is a serious challenge to all the achievements, that were gained during  the previous 10 years.

Davit Harutyunyan, Minister of Justice, has mentioned that the bill will precisely repeat the model of NA and there will still be live broadcast. But there is an essential difference between NA and Yerevan Municipality. In NA the journalists can follow what is happening in the hall behind the windows. But in Yerevan Municipality there will be  quite a different situation, since the room for journalists will be on the first floor and the council session will be held on the 5th floor.

Shushan Doydoyan reminds the authors of the bill, that journalists  do not cover the meetings of the Council for their personal interests or purposes. “They are there as the eyes and ears of the public, that see, hear, record and transmit it to the public”.

Live broadcasting can always be interrupted for different reasons, leaving the public unaware of what happened during the sitting. FOI president summarized, that anything that will take place, and will not be wanted to be learnt by the public and journalists, will not be seen or learnt by anyone.

The source – Ա1 պլյուս


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