Interview with Mesrop Movsesyan, Presidnt of A1+ TV Company.
During the 14th extraordinary convention of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) held in Yerevan on December 15, Serzh Sargsyan announced, "We rejected outright a malicious practice of using force against journalists, opened up the media and restored the right of TV channels to access the spectrum." Do you think that the agreement signed between A1+ Company and ArmNews in September 2012, was reached with this aim? When you were signing the agreement, did you think of the possibility?
Yes, the purpose of the proposal was apparent from the very beginning though it was disguised under the name of a business proposal. And here, a question arises: if everything was determined in advance, why did Serzh Sargsyan interfere in the signing of the bilateral agreement and what does he mean by saying 'we restored the right of TV channels to access the spectrum?' Embattled A1+ was one of the TV channels that has been denied broadcast rights for the past 10 years and I can think that the words were addressed to us. Let me answer: A1+ has not been returned to airwaves: we have a clear order that has become a subject of political speculations. To accuse the opposition and A1+ of politicizing the issue is merely absurd. Today it is Serzh Sargsyan who is politicizing and speculating the issue. Serzh Sargsyan made lip service to the management of ArmNews, which, based on its business interests and ambitions, had proposed us to broadcast A1+'s news bulletin on its channel. Actually their 'game' has been unveiled. It was a bit senseless move and, eventually, it cannot determine whether freedom of speech is strengthened in the country or not, whether journalists are subjected to violence or not, their rights are breached during the elections or not. It was a childish trick intended for ignorant masses, who are not interested in A1+, attitude towards journalists or the political situation in the county. While people, who keep abreast of political developments and pre-election processes, understand everything and want to show something to Europe, but I must disappoint them saying that we have already sought justice in Europe, by applying to the European Court of Human Rights and having our claim upheld.
A1+ has again appealed to the European Court and is waiting for the reply. Don't you think that this was a message addressed to the European Court?
Serzh Sargsyan's statement was belated; the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) had already said that it did not accept the results of tenders announced by the National Commission on TV and Radio, since they did not ensure pluralism and equal footing for all participants. I do not understand how [NCTR Chairman] Grigor Amalyan can tolerate Serzh Sargsyan's statement, who said 'they had given an opportunity'. In that case, who is Mr Amalyan? And what is the role of the state regulator chaired by Amalyan? Are they placemen who deal with the unknown and grasp people's money? You cannot conceal the reality with unsubstantiated statements or show how democratic you are.
Do you think that the 20 minutes of broadcast you have on ArmNews TV is enough for you to say everything you wanted?
I do not think that we demonstrate our abilities within 20 minutes. We have a professional team engaged in professional activities and working in due order without right- or left-handed orientations. This is yet another opportunity to enlarge our audience. I am not interested in the speculations in the National Assembly, government or presidential residence, since I have my program and they have theirs. I am to continue my struggle in court and they have the right to protect themselves, and we are in equal positions in the given situation. Whether or not A1+ has been given access to air is clear to everyone. The contract signed with ArmNews expires in February, 2013. Doesn't it imply that A1+ will again be taken off air? Today the company is given airtime, tomorrow it is denied it again. And who stands behind the mess? The president? And this is considered to be a democratic country and they are proud of it. This can be compared with infantilism. It is ridiculous. Let them reopen and reclose, let them do whatever they want.
Cannot A1+ convey its ideas within these 20 minutes?
We are trying to do it. Yet, it does not mean that we do not have more things to say and share with the public. But this implies a new approach in a different format. We do not use the 20 minutes to destroy the country, rather, use the airtime to show the country's true image. We are not the one that destroys; we are the one that constructs.