Director General of Qaryak Media Group Aram Antinyan has expressed concern over the recent police actions at ArmNews TV Channel, describing the order to institute an administrative proceeding as a “state-level negligence”.
In a public post on Facebook, he also condemns the government for “equally negligent policies” in the fight against the spreading coronavirus epidemic.
According to Aram Antinyan, the TV channel switched to the practice after repeated clarifications from competent authorities. He cites the mandatory order by Tigra Avinyan (dated June 3), the deputy prime minister who now simultaneously serves as the government special emergency coordinator, for wearing masks “in all public places.”
“As we had no clear knowledge as to whether or not office premises can be considered a public place, the ArmNews TV channel anchors went live in masks to be on the safe side.
“Days later, we contacted Tigran Hakobyan, the chairman of the National Commission on Television and Radio, who said that wearing masks on air is not mandatory. We kept on wearing masks on air to be on the safe side as we had noticed that some of our colleagues did, nonetheless, follow the practice. Tigran Hakobyan later gave an interview to 168 Zham and fixed subsequently in a [Facebook post] that wearing masks on air is not a requirement. Our anchors stopped going live in masks ever since.
“Nevertheless, policemen have now come to the TV company to institute a proceeding on the grounds of a failure to wear masks.
“This, certainly, results from a state-level negligence. Despite all our efforts to avoid running into trouble, we are forced today to enter into an unplanned dialogue with policemen.
“It is with the same kind of negligence that we are leading the fight against coronavirus, with the minister of health recommending against makeshift masks on the one hand and the government releasing a film clip, on the other hand, to instruct the population on how to make masks at home,” Aram Antinyan says in his statement.