Lately from Yerevan streets newspaper stalls started to disappear. There are
serious fears that the trend is becoming steady, and will thus restrict the
access of the citizens to information. This problem was raised by the Chairman
of “Armenian Press” Association of Editors-Publishers Vardan Aloyan.
In the permanent section “HotLine” of “Golos Armenii” newspaper on February
1 Vardan Aloyan addressed its guest, Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian with the
following question: “There is an impression that the municipality has recently
announced a war to newspaper stalls. The stalls by “Tashir” Department Store
and Arabkir market have already been demolished. The other day with no prior
notification the specialized newspaper stall of “Komsomolskaya Pravda” at the
crossroads of Terian and Isahakain was demolished, the demolition of “Haymamul”
newspaper stall at the beginning of Mashtots avenue is a questions of a couple
of days. Apparently, the municipality is unable to suppress the wish of our
oligarchs to gain these nice pieces of Yerevan land. But then why doesn’t the
city administration provide other places on equally animated routes to move
the stalls there? Because every newspaper stall demolished is another attack
on media accessibility for people.”
“This issue is presently on the agenda of city authorities. Within the coming
three months the issue of newspaper stalls will be re-considered for an appropriate
decision to be made. The newspaper stalls will be retained, and so will be their
main purpose – the sale of newspapers and magazines”, the head of the Yerevan
It should be noted that still back in 2001 the media heads demanded that the
government stop the privatization of “Haymamul” Press Dissemination Agency.
The protest was caused in particular by the governmental resolution of November
15, 2001 on the privatization of over 300 newspaper stalls owned by “Haymamul”.
The privilege here was given to the newspaper vendors themselves. One of the
mandatory terms of the privatization was retaining the direct function of the
newspaper stalls during five years (even in the case of a change of owner).
In the opinion of media and experts, this term was not sufficient to guarantee
that the sale of the publications will not reduce. The latest events come to
confirm the validity of journalistic fears.
The “list” of the newspaper stalls that disappeared from Yerevan streets mentioned
above has now increased by another one: in the morning of January 25 a stall
located in the vicinity of Medical University went on fire. Whether this was
arson, as the newspaper vendor Samvel Gasparian maintains, is for the investigation
to determine. Meanwhile the residents of Yerevan have lost another opportunity
to buy newspapers at one of the animated places of the capital.