On September 4 in Tekeyan Culture Center a meeting of Armenian media leaders was held to discuss the most urgent issues that currently faced by this sphere. In particular, the conversation dwelled upon the possibility of establishing condominiums in the House of Press in Yerevan, where most newspapers are located, and the building at 28, Isahakian street, the residence of the major news agencies; the privatization of the offices in these buildings by the editions and agencies that occupy them, as well as the participation of the media in the privatization of “Haymamoul” Press Dissemination Agency.
The initiative of establishing a condominium in the House of Press proceeds from the RA Ministry of State Property. As far back as last week the head of this body, David Vardanian, announced, that if the media unite, concessions can even be made during the privatization process and low prices will be fixed. The issue was to be solved, as the Minister admitted, by the beginning of September.
However, the media leaders addressed the President Office of Armenia with a request to intervene into the process and postpone the decision until the media themselves discuss the problem in detail. As a result, the session of the corresponding state commission was delayed for a few days and was re-scheduled for September 5.
Meanwhile, at their meeting the media leaders decided to address two major appeals to the Government. First, until the privatization takes place, the premises occupied by the media should be used by them free of charge but with no ownership rights (their demand is based on the recent decision of the Cabinet requiring that starting from September 1 all enterprises should sign new contracts with the Ministry of State Property to lease the premises at higher rents). Second, the privatization of “Haymamoul” should be stopped until independent auditing of the activities of this enterprise in the past 10 years is conducted (if this is not done, the media may refuse the 24% stock offered). Besides, the media leaders expressed their willingness to establish condominiums in the two buildings mentioned above in the nearest future.
The question of whether and to what extent the demands of the media will be taken into consideration and satisfied by the authorities will be answered only after the session of the state commission, where the media leaders are invited to participate, takes place on the evening of September 5.