The media representatives’ response to government agencies’ repeated calls for removing “disputable” reports from their sources hints the scenario of attempts to establish censorship over media, the president of the National Press Club said today, commenting upon the restrictions linked to the state of emergency.
“The established criteria seem to be beyond the framework of respecting media outlets’ rights and do not in the least sound justifiable. All this gives ground to the not absolutely unfounded impression that the media are the main target of this state of emergency,” Narine Mkrtchyan told Tert.am.
In her words, the authorities’ ban on reports “potentially provoking panic” may attract arbitrary interpretations. “It is common knowledge, after all, that private information increases panic even further. The attempts to establish censorship over, and apply restrictions to, the media are not admittedly acceptable at all, given especially that the state of emergency does not imply essential restrictions for such facilities as places of entertainment, etc. And no curfew regime is actually in place,” she said, stressing the need of a stronger focus on the fight against coronavirus.
Mkrtchyan emphasized the government’s obligation for reducing potential losses to a minimum, adding that the kind of commitment implies also “tremendous rights”. “I do not dispute, in that sense, their right to impose certain restrictions; yet at the same time, I believe that provoking hostility between the authorities and the media is the worst thing that a country’s government can possibly do. It isn’t permissible at all to rely on the assumption that the media are a kind of enemy for the country, which can potentially exacerbate the situation,” he said.